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G&L&Xy DECEMBER 1967 ANDERSON • SILVERBERG * NSVEN 


December 1967 


K 




galaxy 

'^SCIENCE FICTION^ 


600 


OUTPOST OF 
EMPIRE 

by POUL 
ANDERSON 


King of 
Tin; Golden 
World 

A Complete 
Short Novel 

by ROBERT 
SILVERBERG 


HANDICAP 

1 

by LARRY 
NIVEN 



FOR 

YOUR 

INFORMATION 


For sixteen years 
GALAXY’S most pop- 
ular feature. Now in 
hardbound book form. 
The first of a series- 
updated and divided 
by subjects into sepa- 
rate books. 

Facts and figures as 
only WILLY LEY 
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Not collected from magazines, not 
collected from other books, every 
one of these stories Is new and origi- 
nal, especially written for this vol- 
ume — to make it the most exciting 
science fiction anthology in years, 
and a “collector’s item" in years to 
come. 

DANGEROUS VISIONS, edited by 
Harlan Ellison, contains almost a 
quarter of a million words — one of 
the biggest anthologies of original 
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Included are such long-awaited items 
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Philip JosS 
Farmer 
Harlan Ellison 
Philip K. Dick 
Joe L. Hensley 
2 by David R. 

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Sturgeon 
Sonya Dorman 
Kris Neville 
John Brunner 
Roger Zelazny 


Robert 
Silverberg 
Miriam Allen 
deFord 
Brian W. 

Aldiss 
Larry Niven 
Poul Anderson 
Carol 

Emshwiller 
Larry 
Eisenberg 
John T. Sladek 
R. A. Lafferty 
Keith Laumer 


Samuel R. 

Delany 
Frederik Pohl 
Robert Bloch 
Howard 
Rodman 
Fritz Leiber 
James Cross 
Damon Knight 
Henry Slesar 
Jonathan 
Brand 

J. G. Ballard 
Norman 
Spinrad 


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long as Keith Laumer's 12,000 word 
“Test to Destruction” and Philip Jos6 
Farmer’s 33,000 word “Riders of the 
PurpIe'Wage.” Each is Illustrated by 
Leo and Diane Dillon, each has a pre- 
face by Harlan Ellison and an after- 
word by the author, revealing insights 
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VISIONS, mail the free examination 
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Oaiaxy 

MAGAZINE 

ALL STORIES NEW 


Galaxy is published in French, Ger- 
man, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. 
The U. S. Edition is published in 
Braille and Living Tape. 



December, 1967 • Vol. 26, No. 2 


CONTENTS 

NOVELETTES 

OUTPOST OF EMPIRE 9 

by Pool Anderson 

HANDICAP 153 

by Larry Niven 


FREDERIK POHL 

Editor 

WILLY LEY 

Science Editor 

JUDY-LYNN BENJAMIN 

Associate Editor 

ROBERT M. GUINN 

Publisher 


SHORT STORIES 

THE SOUTH WATERFORD RUMPLE CLUB. 85 


by Richard Wilson 

KING OF THE GOLDEN WORLD 97 

by Robert Silverberg 

BLACK CORRIDOR 121 

by Fritz Leiber 

THE RED EUPHORIC BANDS 132 

by Philip Latham 

THE FAIRLY CIVIL SERVICE 178 

by Harry Harrison 

NON-FACT ARTICLE 

GALACTIC CONSUMER REPORT 145 

by John Brunner 

SCIENCE DEPARTMENT 

FOR YOUR INFORMATION 110 

by Willy Ley 

FEATURES 

EDITORIAL 6 

by Frederik Pohl 

GALAXY BOOKSHELF 187 

by Algis Budrys 


Cover by MORROW from OUTPOST Of EMPIRE 


LAWRENCE LEVINE ASSOC. 

Advertising 

MAVIS FISHER 

Circulation Director 


GALAXY MAGAZINE is published 
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additional mailing offices. Copy- 
right New York 1967 by Galaxy 
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including translations reserved. 
All material submitted must be 
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for unsolicited material. All 
stories printed in this magazine 
are fiction and any similarity 
between characters and actual 
persons is coincidental. 

Printed in the U.S.A. 

By The Guinn Co., Inc. N. Y. 
Title Reg. U. S. Pat. Off. 



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5 


ON HUGOS 


A lot more than thirty years 
-**■ ago, when I was about ten 
years old, another kid gave me 
a copy of a magazine that seemed 
pretty strange and wonderful. 
The cover showed a large, scaly 
green monster battering a space- 
ship with a rock about the size 
of a three-story house. I opened 
it up, and was lost. 

I don’t now recall a single story 
in that first issue of a science-fic- 
tion magazine I ever read. Which 
is a pity, because it certainly 
changed my life. I do recall that 
the name of the magazine was 
Science Wonder Stories Quarter- 
ly, and that the editor was a man 
named Hugo Gernsback. 

Time passed. Science Wonder 
Stories Quarterly changed into 
just plain Wonder Stories, and a 
couple of years later, along about 
1932, the same Hugo Gernsback 
had an idea for a club of sci- 
ence-fiction readers. It was called 
The Science Fiction League, and, 
though his motives were of 


course more concerned with sell- 
ing a few extra copies of the 
magazine than with shaping hu- 
man destinies, the SFL in its 
turn changed lots of lives. It fill- 
ed a need. Science-fiction readers 
in those days had a tendency to 
hide under rocks. (Now, of 
course, we’re respectable — I 
mean, after all, sf now has the 
proud record of having forecast 
atomic energy, rocket ships, tele- 
vision, radar, etc., so people take 
us more seriously. But in those 
days, you see, we were just 
making the predictions; they 
hadn’t come true yet.) The SFL 
was a way of getting in touch 
with other people who shared the 
same crazy, secret pleasure in 
thinking about other times and 
other planets; and it prospered. 
Chapters started up all over the 
place — a big one in Brooklyn, a 
lively one in Chicago, a Los An- 
geles chapter so healthy that even 
now it’s still meeting, though it 
changed its name somewhen over 


6 



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the years, another in Philadel- 
phia that’s also still around. 
When fan met fan, the result was 
what we now call “fandom” . . . . 

Hugo Gernsback was probably 
thinking of other things, but he 
lit the fuse that led to such huge 
affairs as the recent World Sci- 
ence Fiction Convention, with 
1600 people swarming into a sin- 
gle hotel in New York. 

Of course, that’s not all Hugo 
Gernsback did. He was an inven- 
tor. He was a' publisher of science 
and medical books, as well as sci- 
ence fiction. And he was a writer 
— you can still find copies of 
hi§ most successful novel around; 
it was called Ralph 124C41+, 
and it had to do with a super- 
hem .(that’s the “plus” in his 
number) who watched girls in 
peril through a super- TV and 
flew to their rescue in a super- 
airplane. 

A little while ago (as this is 
written) we got word that the 
Father of Science Fiction would 
be with us no more. He died on 
the 19th of August, of a kidney 
ailment; because he was the kind 
of man he was, he donated his 
body to science, and now some 
young medical student at Cornell 
University is no doubt learning 
anatomy through his posthumous 
help. It’s a sort of a strange 
thought, but not altogether an 
unpleasant one; it’s what Hugo 
Gernsback wanted, after all. 


Not very many people have 
done as much with their lives as 
Hugo Gernsback did with his. Al- 
though he was seriously ill in re- 
cent years and past the time for 
taking an active part in science 
fiction, he still read the maga- 
zines now and then. And it was 
good to know he was out there. 

We’ll miss him. 

T> ut Gernsback’s name still lives 
on — in more than one way, 
and especially in the annual 
awards for excellence in the field 
of science fiction called the 
“Hugos.” There was a moment of 
silence before they were presented 
at the recent convention, which 
was appropriate, and then the 
Hugos were given out with great 
noise and ceremony. And that 
was appropriate, too. 

One of the winners came from 
Galaxy, a fact in which we take 
pride: Jack Vance’s “The Last 
Castle,” published here in April, 
1966. (Which made it a clean 
sweep for us, because the others 
were from our companion maga- 
zine, If — which won the “best 
magazine” Hugo again — and 
the “best artist” was the one who 
illustrated Vances’s story, Jack 
Gaughan.) 

Winning a Hugo is always an 
honor. This year maybe a little 
more so than ever. 

—THE EDITOR. 


8 








You rumple my money and I'll 
rumple yours — and the devil 
take the American economy! 


nphe aliens first came over late 
* on a moonless summer night 
and emptied contents of their 
bomb bays on the village of 
South Waterford. The time was 
3 a.m. on a Tuesday. It was prob- 
ably a test run, a kind of motiva- 
tional research project. 

If it had been an all-out attack 
on the United States, or on a ma- 
jor city, undoubtedly the govern- 
ment would have reacted sooner 
and more forthrightly. As it was, 
word about the South Waterford 
phenomenon, as the Air Force 
called it, didn’t reach Washing- 
ton right away. And when it did 
it was somehow confused with 
the UFO investigations and re- 


layed out to Colorado for Dr. 
Condon’s attention. This could 
explain why the Defense Depart- 
ment seemed to lose interest in 
the matter for a while. 

But the Treasury Department 
got upset. The aliens had not 
dropped bombs. The cargo that 
fluttered down on South Water- 
ford like autumn leaves, though 
paper, was not propaganda. It 
was United States currency. 

The Assistant to the Fiscal As- 
sistant Secretary of the Treasury 
recalled a kind of precedent as he 
was being interviewed by a wire- 
service reporter. Everybody 
knew, of course, that during 
World War II the Germans had 


85 


counterfeited British banknotes 
and, among other things, used 
them to pay spies. But the Nazis 
had never dropped their phony 
pounds over London. 

Fewer people knew that the 
United States had considered 
bombarding Berlin and other 
German cities with skillfully 
counterfeited Reichsmarks. The 
Assistant to the Fiscal As- 
sistant Secretary told the news- 
men: “President Roosevelt was 
half convinced that this would be 
the thing to do. What German 
worker was going to spend 10 or 
12 hours a day in a factory to 
earn the same kind of money he 
could pick up off the street?” 
“Sounds like a great idea,” the 
newsman said. “Didn’t Roose- 
velt like it?” 

“He was crazy about it. He 
called in his Secretary of the 
Treasury — you know, Henry 
Morgenthau — and said, ‘Henry, 
listen to this great idea somebody 
thought up,’ and then told him. 
But Morgenthau was horrified.” 
“Why? Because money was 
sacred?” 

“That must have been part of 
it. But I also remember that 
Morgenthau pointed out that 
maybe the Germans would do the 
same thing to us. It was like poi- 
son gas. Nobody dared use it.” 
Even after the word about the 
South Waterford incident was 
channeled back to Washington, 


there was delay. The fact that 
two powerful executive depart- 
ments, Defense and Treasury, 
were involved meant that high 
officials had to consult, advise 
and compromise before an Execu- 
tive Order could be drafted for 
the President’s signature. 

Hphen the President refused to 
to sign it. His thinking ap- 
parently was that it would be 
tantamount to panicking to throw 
the economy of the entire United 
States out of kilter because of 
people in a tiny village in the 
Northeast might benefit tempo- 
rarily. A statistical-minded ad- 
viser calculated what percentage 
of the total U. S. population lived 
in South Waterford. It was infi- 
nitesimal. So okay, let it be 
Christmas in July for that hand- 
ful. Meanwhile, the doves coun- 
seled, let’s sit tight and try to 
out think the alleged aliens in- 
stead of playing into their hands. 

No one knew then that the 
aliens didn’t have hands. They 
had pseudopods, not to mention 
bright organge mandibles. Much 
later somebody in Interior’s Fish 
and Wildlife Service said they 
were more like octopi than peo- 
ple. Nobody in Treasury was 
able to figure out how such crea- 
tures had developed the skill to 
simulate U.S. currency. The De- 
fense Department was more in- 
terested in the kind of craft the 


86 


GALAXY 


aliens flew. But by the time these 
questions had been answered, by 
direct observation, they were ac- 
ademic. 

In the absence of an Execu- 
tive Order which might have pro- 
tected the rest of the United 
States against South Waterford’s 
windfall, the Federal Reserve 
Board took the unofficial step of 
advising its member banks to ac- 
cept only worn currency. The ad- 
vice was passed down the line un- 
til it reached that village’s lone 
financial institution, the South 
Waterford Trust 8s Deposit Com- 
pany. 

This led to the formation of a 
social organization known as the 
South Waterford Rumple Club. 

A couple would invite a dozen 
neighbors and friends. Then, for 
two or three hours, conversation 
and cocktails would be accom- 
panied by the passing from hand 
to hand of the fresh, crisp bills 
until they achieved a well used 
look. 

At one point in the circuit the 
rumpled bills would be dipped 
into a mixture of face powder 
and shredded cigarette stubs. 
This gave them the aroma of 
having spent some time in a 
woman’s purse. The next night 
the same group assembled at an- 
other couple’s house and aged 
their money. 

The host was expected to stock 
up on giant economy sizes of a 


powerful hand cleaner so that 
at the end of the evening his 
guests could get the green off. 

Jim Vernon’s technique was 
to roll the bill into a ball and 
work it between his palms, Har- 
old Riehlmann’s was to crease it 
lengthwise as many times as pos- 
sible; Jane, his wife, creased it 
the short way. 

Lou Aramis was a particularly 
welcome member of the party. 
He was the owner of a one-man 
garage and auto repair shop and 
came without washing his hands. 
Lou did more to age a bill au- 
thentically than all the rest of 
them put together. 

T ou Aramis parked his car in 

' 1 the lot of the South Water- 
ford Shop ’n’ Save Center and 
started down Main Street with 
his old army duffel bag over his 
shoulder. It was 9:01 a.m. Thurs- 
day. The sun was warm and he 
was perspiring. 

His first stop was at the Coun- 
try Drug & Variety Store, Eric 
Palmer, Ph.C., Prop. It was emp- 
ty except for Eddie Grimes, who 
was Eric’s partner and assistant 
pharmacist, and the girl at the 
soda fountain. 

“Hi, there, Lou,” Eddie said 
cheerfully. “You’re not back in 
the army, are you? Fighting the 
mysterious foe? Old guy like 
you?” Eddie was older. 

Lou dropped the duffel bag to 


THE SOUTH WATERFORD RUMPLE CLUB 


87 


the floor of the drug counter, 
where a little square of clear 
space next to the cash register 
was surrounded by aspirin, cough 
medicine, flashlight batteries, key 
cases, combs, ballpoint pens, pho- 
tographic supplies, perfume, face 
cream, razor blades, boxes of 
chocolates, playing cards, poker 
chips, paperback books and other 
drugstore items to tempt the im- 
pulse buyer. 

“Never fear,” Lou said. “I’m 
here to pay my good old bill. 
One hundred and fifty-four dol- 
lars and seventy-two cents.” He 
opened the duffel bag and pull- 
ed out a handful of bills. 

Eddie Grimes gave an alarmed 
little laugh. “Why, there’s no 
hurry, Lou, old friend. You know 
your credit’s good here.” 

“Sure it is, Eddie, and don’t 
think I’m not grateful for the 
way you carried me over those 
rough spots this spring. But I got 
your bill yesterday, and it was 
stamped in big red letters 
‘PLEASE PAY BILLS CUR- 
RENTLY,’ and I think it’s only 
right to do just that.” 

“Well, now, Lou, there’s abso- 
lutely no hurry in your case. We 
weren’t hinting or anything, you 
know.” 

“One fifty-five, one seventy- 
five, two hundred — ” Lou was 
counting out the crumpled, dirty 
bills on the counter next to a 
Sominex display. 


“Now wait a minute, Lou,” 
Eddie said. He went on count- 
ing. “Two-fifty, two-seventy* 
two-ninety, three hundred and 
ten, three sixty, three eighty. You 
carried me, so I want to carry 
you the next few months, Eddie.: 
There. Four hundred even. Just 
give me a receipt, will you?” 
“Why sure, Lou, but Eric isn’t 
here right now — ” 

“Your signature’s good enough 
for me, Eddie, old pal. That’s 
fine. Thanks. So long now.” 

/~\n his way out Lou stopped 
at the tobacco counter near 
the soda fountain and bought ten 
cartons of cigarettes, paying the 
girl with a battered twenty and 
a fairly well creased ten. “I’d 
stock up myself if I were you,” 
he told the girl. “The price is 
going up, I hear. Just put ’em in 
the freezer, and they keep for- 
ever.” He called back to the 
pharmacist. “So long, Eddie.” 
“Yeah — so long, Lou. Thanks 
and come again, I guess.” 

Lou’s next stop was at the 
South Waterford branch of the 
giant T. T. Grantberry chain, 
purveyor of anything from salted 
nuts and tropical fish to automo- 
bile tires, refrigerators, haber- 
dashery and living-room suites, 
available at nothing down on the 
revolving charge plan, a small 
percentage of the balance pay- 
able monthly, with 18% interest 


38 


GALAXY 


mounting up fast at the far end. 

Lou went back past the mens’ 
pants, ladies’ lingerie, cafe cur- 
tain and hooked rug departments 
to the credit office. It was 9:17 
a.m. by the clock that had writ- 
ten across its face PAY ON 
TIME — PROTECT YOUR 
CREDIT RATING. 

“Good morning, sir,” the young 
lady clerk said. 

“Good morning,” Lou said. He 
put the duffel bag on the floor 
and fished his T. T. Grantberry 
monthly statement out of his 
back trouser pocket. “It says here 
I owe you $457.63, including the 
service charge, which I guess 
means interest.” There had been 
that color television set, pur- 
chased during his wife’s illness 
when he thought she might be 
dying. 

“Yes, sir,” the girl said. “But 
of course you only have to pay 
$46 this month under our option- 
al revolving charge plan. Did you 
wish to pay the $46, sir?” 

“No, ma’am; I wish to pay the 
$457.63 and get out of your re- 
volving charge plan, which is 
revolving me to death.” 

Certainly, sir. As you wish. Did 
you wish to pay by check?” 
“No, ma’am. I wish to pay by 
cash, in the full amount, and 
then close out the account.” He 
opened the duffel bag and be- 
gan counting our grimy, well 
circulated bills. They’d been cir- 


culated all around Jim Vernon’s 
living room. 

“Oh, sir,” the girl said, “I’m not 
sure I want to take all this money 
from you. Perhaps you’d like to 
talk to Mr. Malmster, our assist- 
ant credit manager?” 

“What’s to talk to Mr. Malm- 
ser about? It says right here — 
look — ‘You can save on future 
credit service charges by paying 
more than your monthly mini- 
mum or by paying in full at any 
time.’ This is the time; I’m pay- 
ing in full.” Lou went on count- 
ing. . . four hundred and forty, 
four hundred sixty. Now give me 
my change and receipt, like a 
good girl. It’s been a pleasure 
doing business with you.” 

The girl grinned, finally. “It’s 
okay with me. Just between you 
and me, leaving T. T. Grant- 
berry out of it, how much more 
you got in that barracks bag, Mr. 
Aramis?” 

“Plenty.” 

“Me, too. I paid up myself 
first thing this morning, before 
the store opened. I didn’t age it 
as good as you did — I put mine 
in the vacuum cleaner bag with 
some of that brown stain fur- 
niture polish — but it got by.” 
She winked. 

“Good girl,” Lou said. “Now 
just put the receipt through your 
machine there — that’s the way. 
Thanks.” 

As he started to walk away 


THE SOUTH WATERFORD RUMPLE CLUB 


89 


she called: “Don’t forget your 
green stamps.” He went back and 
got them. 

On his way out Lou ordered a 
new refrigerator — with an extra- 
big freezer compartment — and 
a sofa bed and a dozen pairs of 
slacks and eight new tires and a 
year’s supply of toothpaste, razor 
blades, aspirin and another ten 
cartons of cigarettes, paid cash 
at the checkout counter, collected 
his green stamps and got back 
into his car. 

All this had been practice. Now 
came the real test. 

T ou Aramis headed for the 
■*— ' South Waterford Trust & 
Deposit Company, holder of the 
mortgage of his two-story older 
house, his personal loan and his 
two FHA loans (“Your Neigh- 
borly Bank Is Your Loan Head- 
quarters”). 

Mr. William Briese (Breezy 
Bill to fellow members of Ro- 
tary and the Lions), vice presi- 
dent in charge of consumer credit, 
greeted Mr. Lou Aramis, valued 
customer, with a cautious smile. 
“Nice day, Mr. Aramis,” he said, 
standing up at his deck behind 
the railing to shake hands. “How 
are you?” 

“Couldn’t be better. And you?” 
Lou let his duffel bag plop to 
the floor. 

Mr. Briese looked at it with 
feigned joviality. “Taking a trip 


or anything? Fleeing the UFO’s?” 
“Not really. Just thought I’d 
make a few payments.” 

“Oh?” Mr. Briese pulled at his 
lower lip and sank back into his 
swivel chair. “Well, come in. Sit 
down.” 

Lou went through the swing- 
ing wooden gate, trailing the duf- 
fel bag behind him, and sat in 
the customer’s chair. He fished 
in his shirt pocket for a cigarette 
and found the pack empty. He 
reached into the duffel bag and 
took out a carton, from which 
he took a pack, from which he 
extracted a cigarette, then two, 
remembering his manners. He of- 
fered one to Mr. Briese. A fifty- 
dollar bill had fluttered to the 
floor and the banker went to 
pick it up and return it to Lou 
with one hand while accepting 
the cigarette with the other. 

“Yes, thanks,” Mr. Briese said. 
He lit the cigarettes with his desk 
lighter (LET OUR CASH 
WORK FOR YOU) and leaned 
back in his chair, puffing nerv- 
ously. 

Lou, also nervous, had trouble 
finding the right papers, pulled 
them out and then put them in 
Mr. Briese’s out basket. 

“I owe you some money, Mr. 
Briese. I mean various amounts 
for different thinks, like — ” 
“Well, now, Mr. Aramis — 
Lou, if I may — there are var- 
ious amounts due, to be sure, but 


90 


GALAXY 


if I recall correctly we’re just 
about current on everything ex- 
cept one of the FHA loans where 
there’s a late charge owing. Some 
nominal amounts — nothing to 
worry us.” 

“Frankly, Mr. Briese, it wor- 
ries me a great deal to be delin- 
quent in any of my obligations, 
and I’m here to straighten this 
out before it gets embarrassing 
to either of us.” 

He’d rehearsed this part of it 
very carefully before coming. 

“Call me Bill. Nobody’s em- 
barrassed, Lou. A person forgets, 
or there are unavoidable circum- 
stances. This happens. We’re not 
unreasonable. Now, if you care 
to clear up this little FHA pay- 
ment of $40.50, plus the late 
Charge of $2.50, there’s no prob- 
lem. Your credit rating is top- 
drawer with us. We couldn’t ask 
for a better customer. In fact, 
I personally will recommend to 
Mr. Dell, our president, that all 
your delinquencies be wiped off 
the books — wiped right off, so 
there’s no blot whatsoever on 
you account.” 

Lou, more confident, smiled 
through a cloud - of exhaled 

smoke. 

“That sure is fine, Mr. Briese 
— Bill. That’s very generous of 
you. To show you I appreciate it 
I’m going to — well, reciprocate. 
I’m going to pay my account in 
full.” 


TTreezy Bill sat up straight and 
-kJ’ put out his cigarette. “Well, 
of course — if you wish. Certain- 
ly there’d be a saving in interest 
charges. But there’s also the con- 
sideration that you don’t want 
to leave yourself short of ready 
cash — ” His eyes drifted to the 
duffel bag. “You mean one of 
the FHA loans, I suppose?” 

“Both of them,” Lou said. 
“The thousand-dollar one for the 
back bedroom and the twelve - 
hundred-dollar one for the up- 
stairs bathroom. I’m three-quar- 
ters of the way through the five- 
year one and about halfway 
through the 30-month one.” 
“There’s absolutely no hurry 
at all,” Bill said, and Lou could 
tell that he was saying it sincere- 
ly- 

“Except that I have the money 
— ” Lou gave the duffel bag a 
friendly kick — “and there is 
that fat interest rate — ” 

“We’re delighted to carry you, 
Mr. Aramis — Lou — delighted.” 
But Lou Aramis said: “I have 
the cash, Mr. Briese, and I pre- 
fer to pay the whole thing. I owe 
you $487.76 on one and $445.50 
on the other. That’s $933.26 on 
both. I’d like to clear those up 
right now.” 

He reached into the bag and 
counted out a thousand dollars 
in soiled bills. “We’ll get it exact 
later,” he said. 

Mr. Briese let the money sit 


THE SOUTH WATERFORD RUMPLE CLUB 


91 


on his desk, not touching it. He 
looked at it with distaste, then at 
Lou, belatedly changing his ex- 
pression to a tentative smile. 
“May I ask you, without mean- 
ing to be overly inquisitive, of 
course, how you happen to have 
so much cash?” 

“I didn’t rob a bank, if that’s 
what you mean.” 

The expression of distaste re- 
turned to Mr. Briese’s face. 

“I’m sorry,” Lou said. “I guess 
that wasn’t funny.” It wouldn’t 
do to antagonize Breezy Bill 
Briese at this stage of the trans- 
action. “What happened is that 
a lot of my customers came in 
yesterday to pay up. Some of 
them had owed me for years.” 
Mr. Briese looked dubious. 
“You mean they all paid you 
on the same day, and all in 
cash?” 

Lou shrugged. “Yeah. I guess 
you’d call it a coincidence.” 

“I would.” Mr. Briese picked 
up one of the bills — a fifty — 
and examined it, then held it to 
his nose and sniffed at it. “It’s 
certainly worn,” he said reluc- 
tanly. 

“Legal for all debts public and 
private,” Lou said. He was push- 
ing it now. “That’s what’s printed 
on it, isn’t it?” 

“That’s what it says, all right.” 
“And you’re open for business? 
Money’s your business, just like 
cars are mine, and if you don’t 


see anything wrong with the 
money, why can’t I pay my debts 
with it? I can’t eat it.” 

( i' 1 'rue.” Mr. Briese appeared 
to find inspiration. “But 
you could put it in a safe deposit 
box which I’d be glad to rent to 
you for eight dollars a year.” 
Lou started to object. Then he 
sat back and said, “Okay.” 
“Okay?” Mr. Briese wasn’t 
prepared for such affable agree- 
ment. 

“I’ll rent the box.” Lou picked 
some bills from the pile on the 
desk and handed them to Mr. 
Briese. “I’ll even pay you in ad- 
vance. Can I have a receipt?” 
Mr. Briese took a pad from his 
drawer and wrote a receipt. He 
was smiling as he handed it to 
Lou. “Fine. I’ll take you to the 
vault — ” 

“Not right now,” Lou said. 
“Maybe I’ll put my life insurance 
policy in it sometime and a few 
things like that.” 

“But I thought you wanted it 
for the money.” 

“Sure you did. But you took 
my cash, so it must be good. Now 
take my $933.26 for the FHA 
loans. It’s exactly the same prin- 
ciple, isn’t it?” 

Bill Briese surrendered. He 
chuckled. “You win, Lou. In the 
absence of any directives not to 
accept circulated currency, such 
as you have here, I have no 


92 


GALAXY 


choice but to stamp your FHA 
accounts paid in full.” 

Lou handed over the two pay- 
ment books. He relaxed as the 
vice president in charge of con- 
sumer credit tore out the perfor- 
ated pages and stamped PAID 
on each stub. 

“It’s a pleasure to do business 
with you, Bill,” he said, putting 
the receipted books in his pocket. 
He smiled at the banker. “Now 
about the mortgage.” 

“The mortgage?” Bill Briese 
asked. “What do you mean, the 
mortgage?” 

“My mortgage,” Lou said. “I 
figured out last night that I owe 
you exactly $12,427. I want to 
pay it off.” 

He reached into the duffel bag, 
drew out a handful of soiled bills 
and started to count them out on 
the desk. “Twenty, forty, ninety, 
one hundred, hundred and ten, 
hundred and sixty ...” 

The banker sank back in his 
chair. His eyes became glazed as 
Lou continued to count. 

“. . . thousand-fifty, eleven 
hundred, eleven-twenty — oh, 
look, here’s what you financiers 
call a C note — twelve-twenty, 
twelve-forty, twelve-ninety . . .” 
After a while Bill Briese began 
to laugh. He picked up his PAID 
stamp and thumped it up and 
down on the ink pad, waiting for 
Lou Aramis to finish his meticu- 
lous counting. 


'"phe government acted, finally, 
after the aliens dropped eight 
hundred and thirty billion dol- 
lars, in beautifully wrought and 
now pre-rumpled bills no larger 
than fifties, over New York, Chi- 
cago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, 
Denver, Boston, Detroit, Pitts- 
burgh, Dallas and Miami. 

But before that happened Lou 
Aramis and his fellow members 
of the South Waterford Rumple 
Club had paid all their debts. 
They owned their houses and 
cars free and .clear and had stock- 
ed up on everything they could 
buy. Bill Briese, though not a 
club member, had taken a long 
lunch hour, raked his lawn and 
paid off thirty thousand dollars 
worth of debts before going out 
on his own buying spree. He’d 
had to resign from the bank the 
same afternoon after an emergen- 
cy meeting of the board of direc- 
tors, but he did so with no ap- 
parent regret, and by nightfall 
he’d rented an office down the 
block in which he set himself up 
as a currency consultant. 

His new business lasted only 
one day because an Executive 
Ordered soon outlawed paper 
money altogether. 

The aliens, adapting quickly, 
flew over and dropped coins. The 
Kennedy halves did the worst 
damage because there were more 
of them than of any other de- 
nomination. But there were silver 


THE SOUTH WATERFORD RUMPLE CLUB 


93 


dollars galore and Washington 
quarters and Roosevelt dimes. 
The aliens dropped no nickels or 
pennies, which became scarce. 
But by common agreement peo- 
ple gave up making small 
change; prices were rounded off 
to the nearest ten cents. 

People who were out at 3 a.m. 
when the coin rain fell were stun- 
ned by the din and quite a num- 
ber of them were knocked uncon- 
scious by the coins themselves. 
Vast numbers of windows were 
broken. 

The government outlawed all 
money, including checks. Trading 
was suspended indefinitely on the 
stock and commodity exchanges. 
All banks closed. Supermarkets 
and other chain stores shut their 
doors for high-level consultations, 
but enterprising independent 
shopkeepers stayed in business 
by switching to barter. 

Lou Aramis went out before 
breakfast to rake the lawn in 
front of his paid-off house. He 
gathered the five-, ten-, and 
twenty-dollar bills into a pile and 
burned them. He raked the silver 
out to the driveway where it 
glittered in the early sunshine, 
prettier than gravel. 

His neighbor, Jim Vernon, was 
also burning bills. He told Lou 
he was saving his coins and plan- 
ned to cover his patio with them. 
“I’m pouring the concrete Friday 
night, and I’ll set the coins in 


then. But I’m a little short of 
silver dollars for the border.” 

Lou waved to his sparkling 
driveway. “Help yourself.” 

“Thanks.” 

“I’ve got an extra gross of 
eggs,” Lou said. “Can you use 
them?” Lou’s father-in-law had 
a poultry farm. 

“I sure can,” Jim said. “But I 
don’t know what I could trade. 
You must be all stocked up on 
clothes by now.” Jim ran Ver- 
non’s Men’s Wear. 

“I am, but Susie’s getting jea- 
lous. Too bad you don’t carry a 
women’s line.” 

“I could probably do a swap 
with Keegan Brothers over in 
Parrish. What size is Susie?” 

Qusie had the omelettes on the 
^ table when Lou went in. She 
was studying a new cookbook. 
“We could have souffle for din- 
ner,” she said. “Takes an awful 
lot of eggs.” 

“Sounds nourishing,” Lou said. 
“Could you disguise it some- 
how?” 

“I’ve been saving a piece of 
cheddar cheese. And then I heard 
from Mrs. Lucia yesterday that 
there’s a chance of getting some 
eggplant — ” 

“Eggplant!” Even the sound of 
it bothered Lou. 

Georgie, their youngest, said: 
“I want some com flakes.” 

“You’ll eat eggs,” Susie told 


94 


GALAXY 


him. “I’m keeping the com flakes 
for your birthday treat.” 

“I hate eggs,” Georgie said. 
Lou, who was beginning to feel 
the same way, started for his car. 
Susie ran after him. “You forgot 
your lunch.” She handed him six 
hard-boiled eggs. 

In the park, where he went to 
eat lunch, Lou traded three of the 
eggs for a loaf of bread. He’d 
struck up an acquaintance with a 
baker’s helper. 

I t was getting so that Lou auto- 
matically woke up at 3 a.m. 
He lay in silent darkness for a 
while, then heard a succession of 
soft plopping sounds on the roof. 
He pulled on his bathrobe and 
went outdoors. The lawn seemed 
to be covered with ping-pong 
balls. No, bigger — they were 
white but each was the size of a 
kid’s high bouncer. When he 
picked one up it gave in his hand 
as a rubber ball did. Lou shook 
his head and went back to bed. 

In the morning he was awake 
before Susie. He went out and 
threw one of the round white 
things against the stone steps. In- 
stead of bouncing it smashed. A 
red and white liquid spilled out. 
In the few hours since the things 
had fallen their casings had be- 
come brittle, like eggshells. 

Lou was dismayed. He felt his 
egg-based economy beginning to 
crack wide open. 


He bent down to sniff at the 
thing he had smashed. The liquid 
had a meaty, nourishing smell. 

He gathered up a handful of 
the spheres and took them to the 
kitchen. He cracked their shells 
and fried them in a pan; a deli- 
cious aroma filled the air. Cook- 
ed, their consistency was that of 
Welsh rabbit. Tasted, they were 
reminiscent of lobster. He nibbled 
cautiously at first, then ate hun- 
grily. 

The members of the South Wa- 
terford Rumple Club, to whom 
Lou communicated his discovery, 
were almost as happy with the 
rain of lobster meat as they had 
been with the alien’s original 
money drop, and soon the entire 
country was enjoying free high- 
protein meals. Some connoisseurs 
claimed that the food from the 
sky tasted like squid. 

The connoisseurs turned out to 
be prophets. The trouble with the 
alien eggs was that, if kept, they 
hatched out octopi. The little 
creatures looked just like the de- 
scription of the aliens given by 
the man from the Fish and Wild- 
life Service. They had pseudo- 
pods and bright orange mandi- 
bles. 

The question of whether they 
could be eaten after they hatched 
was academic for two reasons. 
They didn’t wait around to be 
captured. They moved on their 
eight legs more swiftly than spi- 


THE SOUTH WATERFORD RUMPLE CLUB 


95 


ders and were always just out of 
reach. In the second place, the 
aliens now flew over every day, 
punctually at 3 a.m., dropping a 
new batch. People soon learned 
how to tell the fresh eggs from 
the day-old ones. Off-white 
freckles on them indicated that 
they were new and edible. When 
the freckles faded the eggs were 
ready to hatch. 

As the octopi grew — and they 
grew fast — the federal govern- 
ment sent troops to seal off South 
Waterford. But this was a futile 
precaution because South Water- 
ford was now only twenty-four 
hours ahead of the rest of the 
country, and all the government 
got was a preview of the end. 

Lou Aramis, after breakfasting 
heartily on lobsterlike (or squid- 
like) egg meat, stepped out on 
his lawn to gather up a few more 
freckled spheres. He forgot his 
mission when he saw a fully 
grown creature hanging by two 
of its eight tentacles from the 
lowest branch of his catalpa tree. 
One of the other six tentacles 
beckoned Lou closer. The intelli- 
gent eyes of the thing were ap- 
praising him. 


Lou, unable to resist the bid- 
ding, went to within arm’s length. 
He felt neither fear nor repung- 
nance as the alien creature reach- 
ed out a tentacle and laid it on 
his shoulder. It might have been 
a caress, or a dubbing to knight- 
hood, or the gesture of a master 
to a worthy slave. 

The alien spoke, and there 
were overtones which suggested 
to Lou that similar scenes were 
taking place all over South Wa- 
terford and would be repeated 
twenty-four hours later through- 
out the United States. 

His particular alien said to 
him: “I think we can use you.” 
Lou knew then as surely as if 
it had been explained to him by 
the League of Women Voters, or 
by the President himself, that 
both pronouns were in the plural. 

Lou Aramis felt proud. He 
said: “Of course we’ll do what 
has to be done, together.” 

It was only natural. Outwardly 
he was still Lou Aramis, upright 
terrestrial biped. But thanks to 
his recent diet he was starting to 
think like an orange-mandibled 
alien squid. 

—RICHARD WILSON 



96 


GALAXY 


KING 

of the 

GOLDEN 


by ROBERT SILVERBERG 

WORLD 


She was earthly and human. 
Her husband was an alien — 
how alien, she never knew I 


rrk>ward the late afternoon 
^ Elena mounted the higher 
peak of the double-humped 
island to watch the first phases 
of the eruption. A swarm of the 
children took her there — sleek, 
yellow-skinned fledglings, grace- 
fully coltish, giddy with delight 
at the idea of accompanying the 
woman from Earth. They tum- 
bled and pranced beside her as 
the procession ascended the 
mountain road, and as the group 
came round the spiraling cone to 
a place where the other peak was 
in view one of them said, “See 
the smoke, Elena? Soon there will 
be fire!” 


He was Vondik, one of her fa- 
vorites, one of the most agile, 
probably the most intelligent. As 
Elena moved to the edge of the 
road for a better view, the boy 
sidled up beside her. His cool, 
six-fingered hand casually encir- 
cled the bare meat of her left 
thigh only inches below her hip. 
He glanced up, and the warm 
greenish eyes searched her face 
as though to see if she disap- 
proved of the contact. Well, of 
course, in the proper context — 
schoolboy and teacher on Earth, 
say — any such contact would 
be outrageously intimate. But 
this was not Earth, and Vondik 


97 


was merely being friendly. He 
was about nine, a couple of years 
short of maturity among these 
people. There was nothing sexual 
about the innocent embrace, 
Elena told herself. 

The other children chattered 
and pointed at the far peak. 
Elena had difficulty understand- 
ing their rapid words. The onset 
of the eruption left them fran- 
tically excited. Like monkeys, she 
thought. Slender yellow monkeys 
growing tense before a storm. 

“The fire will come,” said Von- 
dik. “And the stone will melt and 
pour down on everything. See? 
See? The fiery stone will fall on 
the villages and destroy all in its 
path.” 

“How soon?” she asked. 

His fingers dug into her thigh. 
“Two sunrises. Three. Ask Hau- 
gan. Ask the chief. When you go 
to sleep with him tonight, make 
him tell you.” Vondik giggled. 
“See the fire coming now! Do 
you see it, Elena?” 

She stared out over the valley. 
The view from here was magnifi- 
cent. She saw the green slopes 
of the other peak, and two of the 
three villages that had sprouted 
below the summit of the volcano 
since its last eruption, genera- 
tions ago. The double-humped 
island was about ten kilometers 
in diameter, rising steeply from 
the dark waters of Lake Muuk. 
The lake was the gigantic basin 


of some ancient crater, the roof- 
less remnant of what must have 
been an incredible mountain. No 
one knew how deep it was. It 
was thirty kilometers across, and 
to the east Elena was able to see 
the zig-zag course of the Golden 
River, yellow with mountain silt. 
The river came from the north, 
slicing down out of the cold loess 
country to feed this crater lake. 
The lake had no visible outlet. 
Elena supposed that under- 
ground springs must carry off the 
daily influx of new water. The 
daily tons of yellow silt were lost 
in the depths of Lake Muuk, 
which remained obstinately dark, 
obstinately deep, no matter how 
much debris the Golden River 
dumped into it. Further out, be- 
yond the rim of the lake, Elena 
saw the broad tropical savanna. 
Unfriendly tribes inhabited it. 
The people of the lake, self-suf- 
ficient, never left their swayback- 
ed island, even though both 
humps were active volcanoes and 
the lesser hump was in an evil 
mood. 

O nce, ten years ago, Elena had 
seen Vesuvius: that dark 
ashy cone, those sinister fuma- 
roles, the coiling wisps of greasy 
smoke. Touch a cigarette to the 
ground, and it ignited. She had 
gone right over the lip of the 
volcano and had stared into its 
black heart, looking down on the 


98 


GALAXY 


death of Pompeii and shivering. 
Here she did not dare get so close 
to the crater. It was sacred 
ground to these people. The vil- 
lages began in the valley and 
straggled up the slopes for hun- 
dreds of yards. Above the last 
houses lay a thick green belt of 
cloud forest, untouched by 
cultivatic % untouchable, holy. 
Above that lay an ancient cin- 
der zone, leading to the summit. 
When the first rumbles of the 
disturbance had sounded, Elena 
had wanted to climb the peak 
and evaluate the danger at close 
range. Haugan had forbidden 
that. He was not only her lover 
but the chief of the three vil- 
lages, the King of the Golden 
River, and she could not disobey 
him. So here she was, atop the 
uninhabited neighboring peak, 
looking across the valley at the 
deadly mountain. 

“Much dead when it blows 
up,” Vondik said. 

“Surely everyone will be a safe 
place by then,” said Elena. 

The children laughed: a shrill 
chorus, rising in pitch, then de- 
scending. When she had first 
come to this world, she had found 
its style of laughter intolerably 
strange. Now she was used to it, 
and it charmed her. But to laugh 
in the face of a throbbing vol- 
cano? 

The sky was darkening. Pur- 
ple, feathery puffs of cloud 

KING OF THE GOLDEN WORLD 


drifted in from the east, from 
the sea, heavy with rain. Against 
this darker background Elena 
could plainly see the incande- 
scent material shooting high in 
the air from the funnel of cinders 
across the island. There were dis- 
tant hissing and roaring sounds. 
A fountain of cinders and pumice 
spurted forth, bright red, cas- 
cading down the slopes. Through 
her spy-lens Elena watched a 
shower of glowing little particles 
lose itself and grow dark in the 
wilderness of ash that bordered 
the summit. She trembled. How 
long could it be before the vol- 
cano was hurling its matter into 
the sacred forest on its flanks 
and then spewing its seed into 
the huddled villages themselves? 
How could everyone be so calm 
about it? The ground seemed to 
be shaking, even here, kilometers 
from danger. Elena knew that be- 
neath this entire island, both 
peaks of it, conduits of liquid fire 
crossed and recrossed. A mighty 
beast was stirring far beneath her 
feet. 

T Tondik’s hand was gone from 
* her thigh, now. She looked 
for the boy and saw his agile, 
naked form high in a tree, reach- 
ing for a gleaming winefruit. He 
seized it and jumped; the other 
children caught him and bore 
him triumphantly to her side. 

“A winefruit for you.” 


99 


Apple for the teacher. She took 
it, touched his cheek to thank 
him and bit into it. The children 
watched anxiously. She smiled to 
tell them that it was ripe and 
delicious. Winefruits were left to 
ferment on the bough, but if they 
were left too long they were sick- 
ening. Elena felt faintly giddy 
as the alien alcohols attacked her 
metabolism. The children gam- 
boled about her. How could they 
be so cheerful? Their homes 
would be destroyed. These folk 
were no simpletons, no backward 
rustics. In their own way they 
were shrewd and sensitive. Yet 
they did not appear troubled. 

Markun, one of Vondik’s many 
sisters, capered and pointed. 
“Now the lightning comes!” 

Darkness had fallen with tropi- 
cal suddenness. The pearly sky 
had grown ashen, and now the 
pumice fountain flamed like a 
giant Roman candle, and above 
and around it hovered a black 
cloud of erupting gases. And in 
the cloud flickered white sheets 
of forked lightning. At first Elena 
thought the lightning came from 
the purple rain cloud she had 
seen earlier, but no, there was 
that cloud sitting on the forest 
like a veil spread out in the tree- 
tops, well below the cinder zone. 
This lightning had something to 
do with the forces being unleash- 
ed within the volcano. It crackled 
and danced with demonic fury. 

100 


“We’d better start back to the 
village,” said Elena nervously. 
“It’s late. It’s getting dark.” 

nphey did not object. Whoop- 
-*• ing and leaping, they pre- 
ceded her down the steep incline, 
waiting every few moments for 
her to catch up. 

Elena found the downward 
path more strenuous than the 
ascent. Gravity here pulled a 
little less harshly than on Earth, 
and she was in fine physical 
shape, thirty years old, tight- 
fleshed, strong. But the mountain 
path was cut at a devilish angle. 
Going up, it asked no more than 
stamina, which she had in abun- 
dance. Going down, it imposed 
ugly strains on her slender 
ankles. She managed. Soon they 
were on level land again, cross- 
ing the gentle sway of the val- 
ley. The first houses appeared. 
Dinner fires had been kindled. 
Instead of the twenty children 
who had gone with her to the 
lookout point, Elena now found 
herself surrounded by fifty, a 
hundred, a hundred and fifty. 
They greeted her with piercing 
cries of pleasure, crowding close, 
lightly slapping their hands 
against her bare body. 

It had been easy enough to 
get accustomed to going naked 
here, but Elena had never con- 
ditioned herself to the sight of 
so many children. On Earth, 

GALAXY 


where births were so strictly 
regulated, children were rare 
sights. Here such regulation was 
unknown; and, besides, this was 
a race that bore quintuplets as a 
matter of course. Elena had 
never heard of a litter smaller 
than three. Six and seven births 
at a time were not uncommon. 
And the children thrived. The 
air was warm and gentle, the val- 
ley fertile, the lake generous with 
its yield. 

Boisterously the children es- 
corted her to the Parting of the 
Ways. 

These were all one people, one 
culture; yet the three villages 
were separated by barriers of 
custom and caste as high as 
mighty walls. Largo, the lowland 
village, was a farming settlement. 
Hulgo, at the base of the vol- 
cano, was a town of artisans and 
potters. Gilgo, higher on the 
slopes, produced the laborers 
who did the heavy work, the fel- 
lers of trees, the builders of 
houses and canoes. Elena saw no 
necessary reason for this arbi- 
trary division, except that it pro- 
vided an exogamic structure for 
these insular folk. A man of Gilgo 
took his wife from Largo or Hul- 
go; no one ever married within 
his home village. That kept the 
population mixing, at any rate. 
Except for marriages, there was 
little contact between one village 
and its neighbor. 

KING OF THE GOLDEN WORLD 


H augan, the chief of all three 
villages, lived high up in Gil- 
go. He ruled the lower two vil- 
lages through surrogates; there 
was little real ruling to do, mere- 
ly the proclamation of festivals 
and holidays and the occasion- 
al imparting of justice. Elena 
took the Gilgo road, with only 
Vondik, Markun and a few of the 
other children following her. 
Clammy dampness had descend- 
ed on the island. She was tired 
now. Her breasts heaved, her 
skin felt sticky. She leaned more 
heavily on the climbing-stick 
Vondik had cut for her. As she 
entered Gilgo she paused a long 
moment, a lean, naked, blonde 
Earthwoman far from home and 
clad in worries and humidity. 

She looked up at the smoking 
summit, dimly visible between 
the trees. A gigantic eruption 
cloud now towered over the peak, 
laced with lightning in continual 
flashes. It seemed to her that the 
subterranean rumbling was lou- 
dU\ She had the illusion that the 
air was full of minute particles 
of ash, and she felt grimy and 
soiled from them, even though 
a finger drawn across her chest 
did not produce the expected 
streak. She hurried onward, to 
the large hut that she shared 
with Haugan. 

The king came out to greet 
her. They embraced solemnly. 
“What have you seen?” 


101 


“Fire and smoke and lightning. 
Haugan, it’s going to erupt!” 

“Not yet. Not yet. Dinner is 
waiting.” 

He led her inside. He was taller 
than she — the tallest man in the 
village, as was fitting — and 
moved with such grace that she 
never failed to feel cowlike in his 
presence. Alien as he was to her, 
she had always responded in an 
immediate physical way to him, 
from the day she had come here, 
a foolish expatriate looking for 
illumination in the outworlds. 
She had not expected to become 
the bride of an alien. 

But of course he was not all 
that inhuman. He had too many 
fingers and too many joints; the 
texture of his skin was strange, 
his eyes were all pupil, he was 
without hair or fingernails, and 
she did not dare to think much 
about the arrangement of his in- 
ternal organs. Yet the general 
pattern of his body was hu- 
manoid. Evolution had come to 
the same conclusions here as oil 
Earth about how a dominant 
mammalian species should be de- 
signed, and Haugan stood up- 
right, had two walking limbs and 
two grasping limbs, carried his 
forehead, eyes and teeth in the 
same flat plane and found it 
convenient to cover his women 
with his body in the act of love. 
Elena had ceased to regard him 
as bizarre. 

102 


nphey squatted on the mat. 

Dinner — stewed meat, 
green wine, starchy vegetables — 
was served in silence by Hau- 
gan’s maid Leegar. Her belly 
swelled with a new litter. She 
was six months along. Haugan, 
of course, was the father; it was 
a chief’s prerogative to take con- 
cubines. The girl was shy but 
not at all apologetic about it. 
She smiled as she set Elena’s 
food before her. Leegar seemed 
to be saying, “You may be the 
king’s wife, but I carry the king’s 
children!” 

Elena had never quite grown 
used to the sight of the women, 
with their triple rows of breasts 
reaching from throat to navel. 
It was a sensible arrangement, 
considering the habit of multiple 
births here, but it seemed un- 
utterably alien to her in a way 
that Haugan’s minor aliennesses 
no longer did. The feeling seemed, 
reciprocal. When they lay to- 
gether at night, Haugan’s hands 
often came to rest on the flat, 
taut drum of her chest as though 
in unending wonder at the 
absence of the lower four breasts. 

Haugan said, “You aren’t 
hungry?” 

“The volcano frightens me, 
Haugan.” 

“God in his time sends all 
blessings. We are prepared for 
what may befall.” 

“But I saw it clearly,” she said. 

GALAXY 


“It’s like a bubbling caldron. At 
any minute, it might bury us in 
lava.” 

“The priests are keeping 
watch. The lava will not come 
for several days.” 

“Several days! But — ” 

She hesitated. Often, she found 
herself lecturing or haranguing 
him, slipping into the role of 
the educated Earthwomen telling 
the native chieftain what the uni- 
verse was all about. But she 
hated that facet of herself. This 
was his world, his island, his 
kingdom ; and it was folly to 
imagine she was superior to him 
merely because her civili2ation 
had interstellar ships and his 
made pottery from coils of clay. 

t6 W hat you suggest?” he 

' 'asked quietly. 

“I don’t know. It only seems 
sensible — ” 

“Tell me.” 

“ — to start evacuating the 
three villages. Move everybody 
across to the other mountain. 
We’re just sitting here under the 
crater waiting to be killed.” 
“There is time to evacuate.” 
“Haugan, there are thousands 
of people — the domestic ani- 
mals, the tools, the furniture — ” 
“We will not leave so quickly.” 
He poured more wine for her. 
Elena drank and grew giddy. 
Haugan remained calm — in- 
sanely calm, she told herself. He 
KING OF THE GOLDEN WORLD 


was like a rock, steady, assured 
of all he did. In every decision, 
from judging a paternity dispute 
to ordering the flight from the 
eruption zone, Haugan seemed 
equally unhurried and equally 
confident, a true king. 

When the meat was gone, they 
went outside and walked through 
the village, king and consort, 
hailed by all. From the promon- 
tory on the eastern slope they 
studied the volcano above them. 
The eruption cloud had grown 
greater, as had the flaming foun- 
tain coming from the heart of the 
cinder cone. Now it seemed that 
the angle of that Roman candle 
had changed, dipping to point to 
the west. Elena saw the red re- 
flection sprawling like a bridge 
across dark Lake Muuk. Every 
few minutes there came small 
booming explosions from above. 
Steam and black ejecta spurted 
high and fell back. The air had 
a singed smell. Elena looked at 
her arm and found a coating of 
fine ash trapped in the golden 
down on her skin. She showed it 
to him. Haugan stroked her body 
and murmured, “You have the 
soft fur everywhere on you. Not 
only here and here and here. Ex- 
cept for a few places, your skin 
has the light strands of fur all 
over. Wonderful!” 

“Haugan, you’ve noticed that 
before. I’m showing you the ash, 
now. The air’s full of it.” 


103 


“Yes. And it will get worse.” 
He did not seem to care. 

L ater, several old men came to 
see him. He sent Elena in- 
side and squatted with them be- 
fore the hut. They talked more 
than an hour. Elena could not 
understand their words — the 
old men spoke in thick mumbles, 
and Haugan replied in whispers 
— but now and again she seem- 
ed to sense sharp disagreement. 
Something the oldsters said made 
Haugan angry, and she heard 
him snap sarcastically at them. 
The conclave broke up at last. 
He came in and lay down beside 
her on the sleeping-mat. 

“What did they want?” she 
asked. 

“To talk about the volcano. To 
make plans.” 

She said suddenly, “Haugan, 
do they blame me for the erup- 
tion?” 

“You? Why should they blame 
you?” 

“The king has taken a wife 
from another world. Maybe they 
think that was sinful and is 
bringing destruction.” 

“If they thought it was sinful, 
they would never have allowed 
the marriage.” 

“I know some of your people 
objected to it.” 

“Elena, you know we must 
marry outside our village. It is 
the rule.” 

104 


“Outside the village, yes. But 
to bring in a woman from a dif- 
ferent world — ” 

“You fill your head with wrong 
ideas,” he told her. “Is this some 
imagining of your own planet, 
that it is an evil omen for the 
king to marry a foreign woman? 
Here it is acceptable. Necessary, 
even. The more foreign, the bet- 
ter. And you are the most 
foreign. No one blames you for 
the fire overhead, Elena. I 
swear to that.” 

She was not soothed. Ob- 
scurely she believed that the old 
priests held her guilty for the im- 
pending disaster. No one had 
voiced even a hint of such a feel- 
ing to her, but she could not 
shake the notion away. It was 
too easy for her to think in glib 
anthropological terms. The exo- 
gamic exchange of women here 
had signficance for her as the 
passage of unspoken messages 
between tribal groups; the 
women who embodied those si- 
lent messages were units of eco- 
nomic, biological and symbolic 
significance exchanged in a man- 
ner which kept the general struc- 
ture — the meaning — of the 
island society coherent and dy- 
namic. Haugan had incorporated 
her into that structure. But 
what was the unvoiced message 
that she carried, if not one of 
doom and destruction? The 
islanders did not marry mainland 

GALAXY 


women, despite the rule of 
exogamy. Was it not a blasphe- 
my for Haugan to have married 
an alien? Elena could not shed 
her sense of guilt. 

I n the morning she saw that the 
cataclysm had not yet arrived. 
But it was closer. Now, periodi- 
cally, the crater belched steam 
and pumice. A thin steam cloud 
hovered over the lake. At the 
summit, the cinder cone seemed 
to have grown by at least a dozen 
meters since the previous after- 
noon. It rose precariously higher 
on the lakeward side than on the 
valley side, and about midday 
some new convulsion split the 
higher shoulder, breaching it to 
form a horseshoe-shaped rim. A 
dribble of clinkers became a 
talus slide reaching toward the 
upper margins of the forest. The 
forest itself was dingy with an 
overlay of ash, and every gust 
of wind now brought light drifts 
of debris into the village. 

Among the people of the 
Golden River villages, life seem- 
ed to go on as it always had. 

The men felled trees and 
hewed them into canoes. The 
women tended their babies. The 
children played. In the lowlands, 
the harvest continued. No one 
acted alarmed. Haugan was 
away most of the day, confer- 
ring with priests and elders in 
the official huts at the upper end 

KING OF THE GOLDEN WORLD 


of the village. Elena momentarily 
expected the evacuation order to 
come, but it did not. 

Darkness was early that eve- 
ning. The sky was so clotted with 
ash that it would not let the 
late sunlight through. 

There was feasting after dark. 
Elena eyed the pillar of fire 
above the village. It seemed to 
her that she could feel bursts of 
hot steam on her nakedness, the 
exhalations of the monster. Soon 
would come a vomit of steamy 
mud, and boulders of pockmark- 
ed tuff, and then the devastating 
river of lava. 

That night Haugan occupied 
himself making lists on sheets of 
bark. He had no time for Elena. 
Throughout the night he con- 
ducted interviews in low mut- 
tered tones. At last he seemed to 
be showing some sense of an 
emergency, but only he and his 
coterie of withered priests ap- 
peared at all involved with the 
gathering force of the eruption, 
and even they were calm. She 
was the only one to feel fear. 

Now it was the third morning 
since the rumblings and roar- 
ings and hissings had begun. 
Through the ash-clouded sky the 
sunlight looked sickly and strain- 
ed. Small explosions were coming 
every five minutes. A layer of 
ash covered the village lightly. 

Haugan said, “Come with me 
to bathe, Elena.” 


105 


She was glad to get out of 
Gilgo and put more distance be- 
tween herself and the growling 
volcano. Together they journey- 
ed through the lower villages and 
to the shore of the lake. They 
both were grimy, though his 
smooth body had retained less 
of the ash than hers. The water 
was serene, but when Elena 
touched it she drew back, hissing 
at its warmth. 

“It’s boiling, Haugan!” 

“Not yet. We can still enter 
it.” He waded out, hip-deep, and 
beckoned to her. She stepped in- 
to the shallows again. Once in 
Japan she had taken a bath that 
she was certain would scald her; 
this was at least as hot. Yet she 
forced herself forward, until the 
water swirled up about her loins, 
and knelt to submerge her body 
to the chin. The mud underfoot 
was voluptuously warm. She dug 
her toes into it to hold back the 
pain. Haugan, beside her, ran 
his hands over her as if to scrub 
away the grime. She did the same 
for him. After perhaps five min- 
utes they rushed from the water, 
cleansed. Her skin was puckered 
and unnaturally pink; his ap- 
peared unchanged. 

Standing by the shore, Elena 
^ looked to her left, toward the 
smoldering volcano, and then to 
her right, at the quiescent taller 
peak. Why were there no vil- 
106 


lages on the other mountain? It 
was not holy; beasts were tether- 
ed there, children roamed it, but 
no one lived there. The Golden 
River folk all clustered about the 
lesser peak, and she had never 
thought to ask why. Over there, 
a close-packed jungle covered 
everything, except for the roads 
and the grazed places and the 
ancient coating of cinders at the 
very summit. 

The volcano howled. Elena 
heard a new, more ominous 
sound: a high-pitched whistling. 
The sound of the demon about to 
break loose, she wondered? 

She clutched at Haugan. “Let’s 
go back. You’ve got to order the 
people out of the villages!” 

“Do I have to?” He sounded 
amused. 

“They’ll die when the eruption 
comes.” 

“Yes,” said Haugan easily. 
“Some of them will die. Some 
will not.” 

Frightened, baffled, she stared 
at him without comprehension. 

It can’t be long now,” she 
said. “Perhaps by this afternoon 
the lava will come.” 

“Sooner than that,” said Hau- 
gan. “Within the hour, Elena.” 

“How do you know?” 

“I know.” 

“And the people — your peo- 
ple — ” 

“Those who are to be spared 
are already departing. Look.” 

GALAXY 


She followed his arm, and 
Elena saw the dark line of the 
road that led through the valley 
to the slopes of the far peak. 
Like ants, at this distance, were 
the moving villagers, the proces- 
sion of people laden with belong- 
ings and pets. She let out her 
breath in relief. So the exodus 
had begun! She watched the thin 
line for a long moment. But then, 
turning to glance up at the vil- 
lages, she saw many people at 
work still, heedless of the gather- 
ing danger. She did not under- 
stand. 

“If there’s only an hour left,” 
she said, “why aren’t they leav- 
ing too?” 

“They stay,” said Haugan. 
“Only a few will go to build the 
new villages. Our numbers have 
grown rapidly, as always, and 
there are too many of us. I have 
chosen those who will go across 
the island. This is not the first 
time.” 

“Not the first — ” 

“The Night of Fire comes in 
each fifth generation. Each 
mountain must cleanse itself of 
the villages on its slopes, each in 
its turn. We build again and go 
on.” 

Haugan smiled, and as she 
quivered in confusion he took his 
hands in hers and pressed them 
tight. “I have duties to perform 
now. You may watch them, 
Elena.” 

KING OF THE GOLDEN WORLD 


S he followed him along the 
shoreline to a place where the 
water lapped up against the 
shoulder of the volcano itself. 
The vegetation here was limp 
from the new heat of the lake. 
Elena saw a scar in the forest, 
a huge ditch leading from the 
beach to the edge of the moun- 
tain. She knew that men had 
come down here to work in re- 
cent months, and now she saw 
what they had been doing. Hau- 
gan walked inland a short dis- 
tance. Elena saw that the ditch 
terminated in a barricade of logs, 
securely tethered to form a kind 
of sluice-gate. The warm water 
pooled at the gate and did not 
pass it. 

Haugan knelt. He scooped 
warm mud and rubbed it on his 
body. He uttered words in a lan- 
guage she had never heard be- 
fore. He gestured at the distant 
quiescent peak. 

Then to her he said, “Within 
the mountain is fire. When the 
water of the lake meets the fire, 
the molten lava comes forth. This 
is the gateway of the lake. Now 
I must open it.” 

He seized a sharpened stake. 
Elena said, “You mean the lake 
water gets access to the volcanic 
conduit through this opening?” 
“Yes.” 

“And you’re going to lift the 
barricade?” 

“Yes,” he said, and thrust the 

107 


stake into the withes that bound 
the sluice-gate. 

It was cleverly contrived. Hau- 
gan slashed in half a dozen 
places, and the great door of logs 
swung back on unseen pivets. 
Stunned, Elena gazed upon dark- 
ness within the mountain. She 
could not see the fires that lurked 
in the volcano’s bowels; she saw 
only blackness, the blackness of 
total night, and another blackness 
of a race that would commit 
suicide for reasons of rite, and 
she swayed and nearly toppled. 
Haugan caught her. She peered 
down that black tunnel as the 
rushing waters of the lake sped 
past her, arrowing to the core 
of the mountain, there to hurl 
themselves upon roiling magma 
and spark the final convulsion 
of the eruption. Panicky, she 
struggled to flee, but he held her 
easily, and in that moment his 
skin against hers seemed unbear- 
ably alien. 

He released her when she grew 
calm. 

“Now we go back to the vil- 
lage,” he said. 

“To join the escaping people?” 

“No,” he said. “The king re- 
mains behind.” 

r_ r'faey hurried up the slope. 

■*- Dimly Elena perceived the 
rhythm of it, the two volcanoes, 
the alternating village sites, des- 
truction visited upon one while 

108 


the chosen flee to the other, the 
new village rising while the old 
is engulfed, the cyclical rite of 
purification, perhaps the cure for 
overbreeding, the ritual sacrifice 
of the king, the deliberate goad- 
ing of the volcano. No wonder 
the other mountain was unsettled; 
beneath its forested slopes lay 
the ruins of who knew how many 
villages of the past, and now a 
new one would rise. Her mind 
whirled with interpretations and 
theories. But she did not under- 
stand. This was suicide. 

Now they entered the village 
of Hulgo and hurried through it 
to the village of Largo. Past them 
streamed the refugees, unhurried, 
unafraid. Those whose lot it was 
to remain smiled and waved to 
the king. A terrible tremor of 
agony came from the volcano and 
shook the island. 

They reached the hut that was 
Haugan’s dwelling. The old men 
were waiting there. They looked 
pleased. 

“You see?” Haugan said. “This 
has nothing to do with you, Elena. 
You brought no curse to us. This 
is a blessing upon our people.” 

“A blessing? To die like this?” 

“It is our way. You may go, 
Elena. Save yourself. There is 
still time.” 

She gaped at him, bewildered. 
She understood little of this, for 
she was caught up in something 
that was not human in its origins, 

GALAXY 


and Haugan was right: this was 
not her way, she could never un- 
derstand. She was of another 
world. She had tried to become 
part of this world, but it had all 
been merely a pose. 

Yet she was his wife. 

T he sunlight was blotted out, 
though this midday. The 
island groaned. Elena imagined 
her naked body entombed by a 
sudden swift rush of lava. The 
priests chanted softly. 

A plume of flame split the 
sky. 

Vondik and his sisters ran 
by, exhilarated, ebullient. “Now 
comes the fiery rock!’’ he yelled. 


“We’ll see it soon!” They were 
gone . . . but not to flee. 

Elena looked into a darkness 
beyond her comprehension, and 
in that darkness she saw only 
one thing to cling to: that these 
were her people now, and this 
must be her way. Was this her 
ultimate pose? Or was it her first 
and last true act? She did not 
know. She did not care. 

“Will you go?” Haugan asked. 

“How can I leave you?” she 
responded. 

Embracing her husband, Elena 
waited for the Night of Fire to 
begin. 

— ROBERT SILVERBERG 


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

FORECAST 


Had a letter the other day that said, "What happened to some of the 
great writers you used to have in Galaxy? 1 miss Simak, Aldiss, Sheckley, 
Damon Knight, Laumer and others; can't you get them back?" 

Dear lady (we think it was a lady; the signature was blurred), as a 
matter of fact, we can. Try the next issue for instance: 

Street of Dreams, Feet of Clay is a Robert Sheckley novelette — and 
a funny one, we promise. In Total Environment, Brian W. Aldiss builds you 
a world in miniature — and populates it with some of the strangest human 
societies in recent sf years. And Keith Laumer is also present, with a novel- 
ette called The Big Show. 

Poul Anderson will be with us again, too, with a complete short novel 
called Tragedy of Errors — along with, of course, Budrys, Ley and as 
many others as we can fit in. 

Damon Knight and Clifford D. Simak? Well, with a little luck we 
expect to have them in the next issue .... 


KING OF THE GOLDEN WORLD 


109 



for 


^OUE* 

ifc r ri£ ion 


BY WILLY LEY 

ASTRONAUTICS 

INTERNATIONAL 

W ould you like to see a nice 
Italian satellite launched by 
an English-French-German rock- 
et? Or would you prefer to see 
an overweight French satellite 
launched by a Russian super- 
booster? Or maybe a German 
satellite put into orbit by an 
American rocket? 

These three items are not fan- 


110 


tasy or wishful thinking. They 
are not even just possibilities — 
they are actual projects! The first 
of the three is the Europa-1 pro- 
ject of ELDO, due around the 
latter part of 1968 or early in 
1969. The second will be the re- 
sult of an agreement signed by 
France and the Soviet Union ear- 
ly in 1967 ; and, unless political 
developments interfere, it will be- 
come reality in 1970. The third 
one is the result of general NASA 
policy and is likely to happen in 
1968. 

Astronautics got under way a 
dozen years ago by way of Amer- 
ican and Russian efforts under- 
taken in the spirit of a grim (but 
primly denied) competition, but 
it has quietly grown international 
during the last few years, as had 
been predicted even then. Of 
course one could only predict 
that a kind of internationaliza- 
tion would take place; one could 
not have forseen what form it 
would take. The first steps 
toward internationalization came 
from three different sources: one 
was an idea harbored by three 
German space-travel enthusiasts, 
the second were the needs of the 
American space program and the 
third consisted of the very simple 
fact that the European nations 
are smaller than either the USA 
or the USSR and could hope to 
compete in space only by form- 
ing a union of some kind. 


L et us begin with the idea o£ 
the three Germans. They 
were leading men of the new 
German Rocket Society that had 
been formed after the war. One 
was its president Heinz Gart- 
mann, an aeronautical engineer 
(who died of a heart attack 
about ten years ago), the other 
two were Dr. Gunter Loeser, aer- 
odynamicist and expert on turbu- 
lence (he died in a helicopter 
crash in the United States while 
engaged in the investigation of 
low-level turbulence), and H. H. 
Koelle, an engineer who then 
worked in Huntsville for a num- 
ber of years and is now Professor 
of Astronautics in West Berlin. 
The three reasoned as follows: 
we have here a society devoted 
to astronautics. There are socie- 
ties devoted to astronautics in 
• other countries. Why don’t we try 
to get together for international 
cooperation? It might do some- 
thing for all of us. 

Then still thinking in terms of 
Europe only, they wrote to the 
British Interplanetary Society in 
London and to the Groupement 
Astronautique Francaise in Paris. 
The director of the latter, Alex- 
andre Ananoff, became enthusias- 
tic and organized the First Inter- 
national (European only, though) 
Congress for Astronautics. It took 
place in Paris in September of 
1950 and was attended by rep- 
resentatives of astronautical so- 


FOR YOUR INFORMATION 


111 


deties from Austria, Denmark, 
France, West Germany, Spain, 
Sweden and the United Kingdom. 
A transatlantic note was furnish- 
ed by the presence of Professor 
TeofUo M. Tabanera of Argen- 
tina. 

The first congress just decided 
that such an international organ- 
ization was desirable, and it laid 
the groundwork for the organiza- 
tion. At the second congress in 
London in September 1951 — 
organized by the British Inter- 
planetary Sodety — the Inter- 
national Astronautical Federa- 
tion (IAF) was established. Dur- 
ing the third congress in Stuttgart 
(1952) the constitution was form- 
ally adopted and the IAF was 
registered in Baden, Switzerland, 
under Swiss law. It has been go- 
ing strong ever since, with a con- 
gress every year in a different 
country, usually the capital of 
that country. 

This was one step in the direc- 
tion of internationalization. 

The second step, as has been 
said, grew out of the needs of 
NASA. NASA was preparing for 
the Mercury manned spaceflight 
program in 1958, and that meant 
that tracking stations had to be 
established all around the world, 
in Africa, in Madagascar, in Aus- 
tralia, India and Japan. At the 
same time the International Geo- 
physical Year was under way, and 
one of the goals was the explora- 


tion of the upper atmosphere. 
The United States made an 
agreement with Canada for fir- 
ing sounding rockets from Cana- 
dian soil. The rockets were Amer- 
ican Aerobee rockets and also 
solid-fuel sounding rockets con- 
sisting of a solid-fuel Nike boost- 
er and a smaller solid-fuel rocket 
as an upper stage. Once the idea 
of firing American upper-atmo- 
sphere-sounding rockets from a 
non-American site had taken 
hold it could easily be expanded 
to include other nations. The 
Canadian firing site was as far 
to the north as could be conven- 
iently managed — the main rea- 
son for the choice of Fort Church- 
ill was that it was the northern- 
most point in Canada that could 
be reached by rail. Now a firing 
site as close to the equator as 
possible was desired, and India 
offered the use of a stretch of 
land near its southern tip which 
became known as the Thumba 
range. 

The working arrangement was 
the same with all other countries. 
The United States, via NASA, 
furnished the rockets and, if nec- 
essary, instruction; the other 
country furnished the firing site, 
tracking facilities as required and 
personnel. No exchange of funds 
took place. Under such an ar- 
rangement sounding rockets were 
fired from New Zealand and from 
the Andoya range in northern 


112 


GALAXY 


Norway. Of course American 
rockets were also fired from the 
Chamical range in Argentina, 
about 150 miles from Cordoba. 

T)ut, while there was never an 
* ' exchange of funds, there 
soon came to be an exchange of 
rockets. In February, 1967, In- 
dians from the Thumba range ar- 
rived in the United States with 
an Indian-built instrument pack- 
age which was launched success- 
fully from Wallops Island on 
March 16, 1967, using a two- 
stage Nike-Apache rocket. One 
year earlier a Japanese group 
had come to Wallops Island with 
a Japanese single stage solid fuel 
called the MT-135, about 10)4 
feet long and weighing 150 lbs. 
at launch. The Japanese rockets 
carried meteorological instru- 
ments to a height of 35-38 miles; 
they were paired with American 
solid-fuel Areas rockets that 
reach about the same altitude. 
Each time a Japanese MT-135 
took to the air, it was followed 
by an Areas 15 minutes later. 

Since the international arrange- 
ments about sounding rockets 
worked out so well, why not ex- 
tend it to satellite launchings? 
The first two countries to take 
advantage of this possibility were 
the United Kingdom and Cana- 
da. Artificial satellite UK-1 was 
successfully launched on April 
26, 1962, and the first Canadian 


satellite Alouette (“Skylark”) fol- 
lowed on September 29, 1962. 
Since the Canadians wanted a 
nearly polar orbit the launching 
was done from the Pacific Mis- 
sile Range. Both the first British 
and the first Canadian satellite 
required a Thor rocket with an 
extra upper stage, and at that 
time the Thor was still a military 
missile that was classified in part. 
Hence the firings had to be from 
United States Territory and a 
certain amount of security com- 
plications was inevitable. 

But by that time there had 
been inquiries from other coun- 
tries whether the United States 
might not sell them a rocket for 
scientific purposes. The West 
Germans even wanted to buy an 
Atlas rocket with an Agena as the 
upper stage for an ingenious but 
heavy satellite they had designed. 

Of course, no military missiles 
could be sold, but meanwhile 
NASA had developed a rocket 
that was not classified, the Scout. 
All four stages use solid fuels. 
The first stage is an Algol by 
Aerojet-General, with a thrust of 
115,000 lbs. The second stage is 
a Castor by Thiokol, with 55,000 
lbs. thrust. The third stage is an 
Antares by Hercules Powder with 
13,600 lbs. thrust, and the fourth 
stage is an Altair (also by Her- 
cules) with 3,100 lbs. thrust. Add 
guidance by Minneapolis-Honey- 
well, and you have a 7 2 -foot rock- 


FOR YOUR INFORMATION 


113 


et with a take-off weight of 36,- 
600 lbs. that can carry a 110-lb. 
payload to an altitude of 3,500 
miles or put a 150-lb. payload in- 
to orbit. 

This is the rocket that was 
made available to other powers 
for launches from U.S. launch 
areas or that could even be sold 
for launches elsewhere. But while 
the English were satisfied to have 
their satellites launched in the 
United States — and the West 
Germans will bring over a satel- 
lite of their own for this purpose 
soon — some other nations had 
higher ambitions. 

r TPhe Japanese, in 1955, decided 
on a program of their own, 
beginning with a small solid-fuel 
rocket they called Pencil because 
it was only UJ 2 inches long. Pen- 
cil was followed by Baby which 
had two stages but a total pro- 
pellant weight of only 2.2 lbs. 
Then followed a 4-foot rocket 
and then followed a series that 
had the overall designation of 
Kappa. With one exception they 
were two-stage rockets, and all 
of them were solid-fuel rockets. 

Kappa - 6, with a take-off 
weight of 595 lbs., reached a peak 
altitude of 37 miles in 1958. Kap- 
pa-6H, in 1960, had take-off 
weight of 727 lbs. and reached 
a peak altitude of 50 miles. Kap- 
pa-8L, in 1962, weighed only 50 
lbs. more but climbed to 100 


miles. Kappa-9M, in 1963, weigh- 
ed 3,300 lbs. on the pad and car- 
ried a payload of 110 lbs. to 217 
miles. Of the next set of sound- 
ing rockets the two-stage Lamb- 
da-2 carried a payload of nearly 
400 lbs. to 310 miles in 1963, and 
the three-stage Lambda-3, in 
1964, carried 375 lbs. of payload 
to 375 miles. 

By that time the Japanese were 
ready to build a satellite launch 
vehicle — and their whole space 
program, up to that point, had 
cost them only 25 million U.S. 
dollars. 

The satellite launcher was call- 
ed Mu-2, had four stages and 
carried a 57-lb. satellite. The 
launch date was September 26, 
1966, and the take-off looked 
fine. But the top stage failed to 
ignite, and the satellite fell some- 
where into the Pacific Ocean. 
But by the time this column ap- 
pears in print, the Japanese might 
have succeeded. 

While the Japanese produced a 
very thrifty space program, the 
French were after a diversified 
rocket and space program. Of 
course they were thrifty, too, in 
an interesting manner as we’ll see 
soon, but they did not permit the 
budget to curtail success. After 
preliminary studies and presum- 
ably extended debates, the 
French created two “families” of 
rockets, the Belief family (belief 
means “ram,” the animal as well 


114 


GALAXY 


as the medieval battering ram) 
and the so-called “gem family.” 
With the single exception of one 
of the “gems,” the Emetaude 
(“emerald”) they are all solid- 
fuel rockets. 

The Belier family takes its 
name from the fact that the Be- 
lier rocket is the top stage for all 
rockets of this family. The Belier 
has a length of 13 feet 2 inches, 
a diameter of 12.0 inches, a 
launch weight of 694 lbs. and a 
burning time of 21 seconds. Fired 
by itself it can reach an altitude 
of 50 miles. The next bigger rock- 
et of this family is the Centaur e 
which carries the Belier as its 
second stage. Overall length (in- 
cluding the second stage) is 19 
feet 9 inches; the diameter is an 
inch less than that of the Belier 
and the overall take-off weight 
is 1,030 lbs. Fired with a Cen- 
taure to boost it, the Belier reach- 
es an altitude of 80 miles 

Next is the Dragon, also carry- 
ing a Belier as its second stage. 
The overall length (with Belier ) 
is 23 feet 3 inches, overall take- 
off weight is 2,550 lbs., and the 
peak altitude for the Belier when 
boosted by a Dragon is 250 miles. 
But one can continue with this 
game, and the French did: they 
built a lower stage called the 
Pegase (Pegasus) to carry a Dra- 
gon that carries a Belier. The 
overall length of this three-stage 
rocket is 33 feet 11 inches, over- 


all take-off weight in 4,512 lbs., 
and peak altitude for the top 
stage is 600-630 miles. 

Tn the “gem family” we have 

the same careful regard for 
combinations. There are four bas- 
ic rockets. 

In the liquid-fuel Emeraude, 
the oxidizer is nitric acid and the 
fuel proper a turpentine derivate 
named terebenthine. None of the 
figures for the Emeraude one can 
find in French magazines seem 
to agree among themselves; the 
reason is that an Emeraude, to 
be testfired, has to carry dummy 
upper stages and the figures 
sometimes refer to the rocket 
with these dummy stages and 
sometimes they do not. The Em- 
eraude, by itself, is 32 feet long 
with a diameter of 4.4 feet. 
Weight empty is 4,290 lbs., 
weight fully fueled is 32,380 lbs. 
and take-off thrust is 59,700 lbs. 

The smallest of the four basic 
rockets does not seem to have 
a name, it is always referred to as 
the “third stage.” It is 6/2 feet 
long, has a diameter of 26 inches 
and an empty weight that is sur- 
prisingly low, namely only 15Cf 
lbs. But its propelling charge 
weighs 1,410 lbs. 

The two rockets Agate and 
Topaze are fairly similar in their 
dimensions but different in con- 
struction. The Agate is 28 feet 
long, the Topaze 25^4 feet. Both 


FOR YOUR INFORMATION 


115 


have a diameter of 31)4 inches. 
At take-off the Agate weighs 
7,500 lbs., the Topaze 7,500 lbs. 
But the Agate has only one ex- 
haust nozzle and a burning time 
of 18 seconds, while the Topaze 
has four exhaust nozzles and a 
burning time of 39 seconds. So 
these are the basic rockets of the 
gem family, Emeraude, Topaze, 
Agate and “third stage.” What 
follows should be (but isn’t) call- 
ed “jewelry” — because now the 
gems are combined. 

This is the scheme: 

Agate-\- u third stage” = Rubts 
Emeraude-\-Topaze — Saphir 
Emeraude -f- T opaze ( — 
Saphir) + “third stage” = 
Diamant. 

Diamant is the French satellite 
launcher with an overall length 
at take-off (including the satel- 
lite) of 62 feet. But the first 
French satellite was launched in 
the United States by a Scout 
rocket, then the French went 
ahead and put three satellites of 
their own into orbit (see table). 

When the French rocket pro- 
gram began, Algeria was still 
French, and so the French estab- 
lished a proving ground in the 
Sahara near a place called Ham- 
rnaguir. I have read somewhere 
that this is a native word mean- 
ing “javelin thrower”, — I find 
this coincidence (if it is one) a 


bit too pat, but of course I can’t 
say that Hammaguir does not 
mean javelin thrower. But the 
French, who then leased Hamma- 
guir for a number of years, had 
to leave on June 30, 1967, so at 
the time Diamant went into ac- 
tion, Hammaguir was headed for 
the last countdown. 

As a result, the French, during 
1966, have been busy construct- 
ing two new firing ranges, one for 
satellites in Guiana and one for 
missiles with ranges up to 1,200 
miles on the French west coast, 
halfway between Boulogne and 
Biarritz. 

One of the last French rockets 
fired from Hammaguir was a 
two-engined single stage rocket 
called Cora which has nothing to 
do with the Belier family and 
the “gems” but is destined to be 
the second stage of the Europa-1 
satellite launcher of ELDO. The 
letters stand for European Launch 
Development Organization, and 
ELDO is the result of the third 
reason for internationalization 
mentioned at the beginning. EL- 
DO was first proposed in 1960 
by the United Kingdom and 
France and formally organized in 
1964 with the following members : 
Belgium, France Germany, Italy, 
the Netherlands and the United 
Kingdom. The seventh member, 
Australia, does not contribute 
funds, but makes its Woomera 
firing range, tracking facilities 


116 


GALAXY 


THE "INTERNATIONAL" SATELLITES 



(All 1 

launched from U. 

S. Firing 

Ranges except as 

noted.) 


Launch 


Satellite 

Satellite 

Launch 



Orbital 

Data 


Designation 

Design 

Vehicle 

Perigee 

Apogee 

Pariod. 






(miles) 

(miles) 

(minutes) 

Apr. 

26, 1962 

UK-1 

British 1 

U.S. 

242 

754 

95 

Sept. 

29, 1962 

Alouette-I 

Canadian 

U.S. 

597 

619.4 

190.5 

Mar. 

27, 1964 

UK-2 

British 

U.S. 

186.4 

825 

101.2 

Dec. 

15, 1964 

San Marco 1 

Italian^ 

U.S. 

128 

510 

95 

Nov. 

26, 1965 

FR-1 

French 

U.S. 

329 

1123 

108.7 

Nov. 

28, 1965 

Alouette-ll 

Canadian 

3 U.S. 

315 

1863 

121.4 

Feb. 

17, 1966 

D. 1A 

French 

French* 

311 

1701 

118.7 

Feb. 

8, 1967 

Diademe 1 

French 

French* 

354 

775 

104.3 

Feb. 

15, 1967 

Diademe 2 

French 

French* 

367 

1168 

110.2 

Apr. 

26, 1967 

San Marco U 

Italian 

U.S.5 

135 

498 

95 

May 

5, 1967 

UK-3 

British 

U.S. 

306 

373 

95.6 


1 The three British satellites are also known as Ariel 1 , 2 and 3. 

'A Launched from Wallops Island by an Italian launch crew, San Marco I re- 
entered the atmosphere and burned up on September 13, 1965. All others 
in this table are still orbiting. 

3 The same rocket also launched the American satellite Explorer-XXXI. 

4 Fired from Hammaguir, Algeria. 

5 Fired from floating platform in Indian Ocean. 


and personnel available to the 
other members. 

TTrliile ELDO’s goal is the de- 
’ ' velopment of a launch ve- 
hicle, its sister organization ES- 
RO (European Space Research 
Organization) has a more varied 
program and has, for that reason, 
several sub-divisions: 

ESDAC: European Space Da- 
ta Center, located in Darmstadt, 
West Germany, 

ESLAB: European Space Re- 
search Laboratory, located in No- 
ordwijk, The Netherlands, 
ESRANGE: European Space 
Range (for sounding rockets) lo- 
cated near Kiruna, Sweden, 


ESRIN: European Space Re- 
search Institute, located at Fras- 
cati, Italy, 

ESTEC: European Space Tech- 
nology Center, located in Noord- 
wijk and Delft, The Nether- 
lands. 

ESTRACK: European Space 
Tracking Network, with stations 
in Norway, Spitsbergen (Sval- 
bard Archipelago), Port Stanley 
(Falkland Islands), Redu (Bel- 
gium) and Fairbanks, Alaska. 

ESRO has three satellites 
being built, ESRO-1 by a French 
company, ESRO-2 by Hawker- 
Siddeley in England and Heos- 
A by Junkers Aircraft in West 
Germany. All three will be 


FOR YOUR INFORMATION 


117 


launched by American rockets 
and presumably from American 
firing ranges, ESRO-1 and ES- 
RQ-2 will be orbited by Scout 
rockets, while Heos-A will need 
the rocket called TAD, which 
means “thrust-augmented delta.” 
The schedule calls for launching 
all three of them during the latter 
half of 1968. (Though late word 
from NASA indicates one may 
launch early — perhaps while 
you are reading this). The rock- 
ets for the ESRO satellites will 
not be furnished free of charge, 
but will be purchased by ESRO. 

ESRO’s membership is exclus- 
ively European and is larger than 
that of ELDO. Ten nations are 
members, namely Belgium, Den- 
mark, France, Germany, Italy, 
the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, 
Switzerland and the United King- 
dom. Norway and Austria are not 
members but have what is called 
“observer status.” 

As has been mentioned ELDO’s 
main goal is the development of 
a satellite launch vehicle, larger 
and more powerful than France’s 
Diamant, — but in the meantime 
the French are planning a “super- 
Diamant.” The Europa-1 rocket 
of ELDO will have an overall 
length of 104 feet, a maximum 
diameter of 12 feet and a launch 
weight of 230,340 lbs. It will be 
capable of placing a 2,200-lb. 
payload into a 125-mile orbit, or a 
.1, 900-lb. payload into a 310-mile 


orbit. The booster stage is the 
British Blue Streak that was orig- 
inally developed to be a missile 
with a range of 2,800 miles. 

As part of the Europa-1 the 
Blue Streak has a length of 61)4 
feet, a diameter (tank section) 
of 10 feet and an empty weight 
of 15,425 lbs. Fully fueled (with 
kerosene and liquid oxygen) it 
weighs 197,110 lbs., the take-off 
thrust is 289,400 lbs. but rises 
near the end of the 156-second 
burning period to 333,500 lbs. 
The second stage is the French 
Coralie which is designed for un- 
symmetrical dimethyl hydrazine 
as the fuel and nitrogen tetroxide 
as the oxidizer. Coralie is 187 feet 
long with a diameter of 6.6 feet 
and an empty weight of 4,627 lbs. 
Fully fuelled, Coralie weighs 26,- 
222 lbs. and develops a thrust of 
61,800 lbs. 

When the Coralie was tested at 
Hammaguir it had to have all 
kinds of things added to it that it 
does not have as part of the 
ELDO vehicle. It had to carry 
a dummy upper stage and a 
dummy satellite. It had to have 
a nose cone that it normally does 
not have. And it had to have 
tail fins. Because of these addi- 
tions the French called the test 
vehicle Cora; it reached an alti- 
tude of 37 miles. 

The third stage of the ELDO 
vehicle is being built in West 
Germany, designed for the same 


118 


GALAXY 


fuels as the Coralie. It is 10.8 feet 
long with a diameter of 6.6 feet. 
Empty weight (but with guidance 
equipment) is 1,345 lbs., fully 
fuelled it weighs 7,430 lbs. The 
thrust of its main engine is 5,070 
lbs., but it also has two vernier 
engines for orbital adjustments 
and corrections with a thrust of 
176 lbs. each. 

Nothing is known yet about 
the satellite to be carried, except 
that it has been designed by the 
Italian group in consultation with 
West German engineers and that 
it will be manufactured in Italy. 
The orbit also has not been men- 
tioned, but from the distribution 
of the tracking stations of ES- 
TRACK it is fairly obvious that 
a polar orbit has been planned. 

Well, this is the story so far, 
like all stories dealing with rock- 
ets and with space research it is 
an open-end story. Five years 
from now the story will have 
another ending, but it will be an 
open end again. 

The Names of the Russian Satellites 

'nphis looks like the proper time 
to answer a query I received 
some time ago, asking me to 
name the various types of Rus- 
sian artificial satellites after 
Sputnik and to explain their pur- 
pose, if possible. 

Not counting the devices call- 
ed “cosmic rockets” (we’ll get to 


them later) the first Russian sat- 
ellite that bore a name other than 
Sputnik was Polyot in 1963. The 
word means “flight” and is pro- 
nounced pol-YOTT; the purpose 
of the satellite was to demon- 
strate that an orbiting satellite 
can change it.:: orbit. Polyot did 
demonstrate this by raising its 
apogee from 368 to 892 miles and 
its orbital period from 94 min- 
utes to 102 minutes. The perigee 
remained virtually unchanged; it 
was raised from 210 to 213 miles. 

In 1964 there came four satel- 
lites called Elektron. They were 
fired in pairs, two on January 
31 of that year and two on July 
11 of the same year. The first 
two assumed orbits from 250 
miles (perigee) to 4,423 miles 
(apogee) and 363 miles (perigee) 
and 42,152 miles (apogee). The 
Russians just stated that these 
were “research satellites,” but 
from these orbits it is evident 
that the Elektron satellites were 
monitoring the extent and in- 
tensity of the Van Allen belts. 
The second pair of these satel- 
lites was put into almost identi- 
cal orbits. 

In 1965-6 there came three sat- 
ellites named Proton; the dates 
were July 10 and Nov. 2 of 1965 
and July 6 of 1966. Their orbits 
were not unusual, the first one 
had a perigee of 108.7 miles and 
an apogee of 279.5 miles, but 
their weights were. Normally 


FOR YOUR INFORMATION 


119 


the Soviets do not announce sat- 
ellite weights, but this time they 
did: Proton-1 weighed 26,896 lbs., 
Proton-2 26,840 lbs. and Proton-3 
26,000 lbs. Purpose was not an- 
nounced, but from the announced 
weight western observers drew 
the conclusion that Proton-1 must 
be a prototype of a new manned 
spacecraft. This conclusion was 
ruined by the fact that the Rus- 
sians did not bring Proton-1 back 
from orbit to test its re-entry 
capability and to examine how it 
had stood up. Instead they left it 
in orbit until it re-entered on 
its own (on October 11, 1965) 
as a result of natural orbital de- 
cay. Of course, one could still 
guess that the retro rockets of 
this satellite had failed to work. 
But the performance was repeat- 
ed with the other two. 

Four Russian satellites, so far, 
were called Molniya, which 
means “lightning,” and they were 
announced to be communications 
satellites. The first one went into 
orbit April 23, 1965. The other 
three followed at intervals of 
about six months; they were pre- 
sumably replacements of the pre- 
ceding Molniya satellite after it 
had stopped working. 

So far things are reasonably 
clear, but then the Russians be- 
gan to call practically everything 
Kosmos. The first of these satel- 
lites was launched March 16, 
1962; on May 17, 1967 one rock- 


et launched Kosmos-159 and 
Kosmos-160. Here one name ob- 
viously covers many different 
things. Some of them were in- 
dubitably research satellites, 
some were equally indubitably 
prototypes of manned space cap- 
sules and some are taken to have 
been, or to be, what is politely 
called “surveillance satellites”. 

As regards lunar and plane- 
tary probes, the names are sim- 
plicity itself. A Russian Mars 
probe (which failed to work) 
was simply called Mars-1, while 
the Russian Venus probes were 
called Venera, which is the Rus- 
sian name of the planet. The 
lunar probes were first called 
“cosmic rockets.” The first (Jan- 
uary 2, 1959) was apparently 
fired for impact on the moon, but 
missed; the second (Sept. 12, 
1959) did strike the moon, the 
third (October 4, 1959) looped 
behind the moon and took a 
number of pictures. But the next 
one was called Luna-4 (again, 
Luna is just the Russian name 
of the moon) and so were all 
the ones that followed. Luna-9 
reached the moon on February 
3, 1966 and was the first man- 
made device to accomplish a soft 
landing. But Luna-10 was fired 
to take up an orbit around the 
moon (orbit achieved April 2, 
1966) like our Lunar Orbiters. 

—WILLY LEY 


120 


GALAXY 


I 



He was being tested , that was 


iliilffefiSr; 


by FRITZ LEIBER 


sure. But for what? By whom? 


And at what cost to his life? 


T Te sat hunched in a corridor 
-*■ head-high and about two 
doors wide trying to remember 
who he was. 

He felt very weary in his legs, 
as if he’d been walking the cor- 
ridor a long, long time. 

The corridor was of a black 
shimmering metal cool to his 
skin. He couldn’t spot the source 
of the shimmer, which dimly lit 
the corridor though leaving the 
metal black, but he was pretty 
sure that was a minor problem. 

He heard a faint steady whin- 
ing, but he thought that was 
minor too. 

He was hunched so that his 
heels pressed his buttocks and his 
elbows his sides, while his hands 
and the lower half of his face 
rested on his knees. Like a big 
rangy fetus sitting up, or the 
corpse in an early Egyptian hole- 


burial. There droned in his mind, 
“Naked I came into the world 
and naked I go out.” 

The corridor was literally two 
doors wide, for it ended ten yards 
away in two doors which faced 
him squarely. Each door had a 
glowing button on it and below 
the button a short word he 
couldn’t quite read, though now 
and then he lifted his face to 
squint at them. 

After a while he might go and 
read the two words, but now it 
seemed important to sit hunched 
all together, as if that helped him 
concentrate, and try to remem- 
ber who he was. 

Moreover, though he tried to 
keep it out of his mind, he real- 
ly shrank from investigating the 
two doors. There was something 
about them that daunted and 
sickened him. 


121 


Tnstead he chased memories in 
“*■ the inner darkness of his mind, 
but they turned and fled like tiny 
moonlit fish from a nighttime 
skin-diver. 

He had the feeling that he’d 
taken a wrong fork somewhere 
behind him in the corridor, and 
that as he’d taken that curving 
turn, his name and all that had 
ever happened to him had slipped 
away, as if dragged out of his 
mind by centrifugal force. 

Maybe when he had rested a 
little more he should go back 
and find the fork and this time 
take the straight branch. 

As he had that thought, cool 
metal touched his back. 

He threw out his arms, and 
they struck cool metal, even with 
his back, to either side. 

The movement jerked his tor- 
so erect. His head, neck, and 
shoulders touched cool metal too. 

He scrambled to his feet and 
turned around. Where there had 
stretched an endless corridor, 
there was now a wall about a 
yard away. A black wall with no 
doors or door in it. 

Instead of being in a corridor 
open-ended one way, he was in 
a glimmering black box ten yards 
long. 

He realized that the faint 
steady whining had stopped only 
when it started up again. 

The wall that had touched him 
began moving toward him very 


slowly, at about the normal 
walking speed of an ant. 

He stood stiffly erect, facing 
it. His arms hanging at his sides 
began to tremble, then his legs. 
His breath came and went be- 
tween his teeth in little shudder- 
ing gusts. His eyes slowly con- 
verged. The wall touched the 
ends of his big toes, then nudg- 
ed them. Without stepping back, 
he threw up his hands beside his 
shoulders and pressed against the 
wall. 

The whining stopped, but after 
he had taken two more breaths, 
softly sighing ones through his 
nose, he could feel the wall begin 
to press back. Holding his breath 
and without changing his stance, 
he pressed harder. The wall 
pressed harder still and with a 
sudden little scream threw him 
back. 

He saved himself from falling 
and then took another backward 
jump. 

The wall’s little scream sank 
immediately to a whine, but the 
whine was a little louder now, 
and the wall came on a little 
faster, like a cockroach in a hur- 
ry. 

This time he readied himself 
carefully for the wall’s approach, 
taking a position somewhat like 
that of a wrestler but also a 
fencer. His right leg, bent slightly 
at the knee, was thrust almost 
straight behind him, and that foot 


122 


GALAXY 


pointed back too. His left leg 
was bent under him, left foot 
pointing straight forward. The 
soles of both feet, toes gripping, 
were planted flat on the floor, 
which compared to the smooth 
walls was a trifle gritty, firming 
his stance. 

W hen the wall reached him, 
the box he was in being 
then seven yards long, he met the 
wall simultaneously with his 
spread-fingered right hand, his 
left shoulder and his whole left 
arm doubled up clench-fisted 
against his chest, the left side of 
his head and his left knee. 

The wall stopped dead. In 
fact, it gave back a little, or 
seemed to. He pressed a little 
harder, but it gave no more. He 
did not waste his strength then, 
but only maintained the same 
relatively light pressure which 
had stopped the wall, trying to 
relax as much as he dared. His 
teeth were lightly clenched, but 
through his nostrils he drew and 
expelled deep breaths, as a 
climber does before tackling a 
difficult stretch of rock-face. 

After what seemed a long 
time, the wall began to push at 
him again. He contented himself 
with matching its pressure, guess- 
ing that if he put out his full 
strength, the wall would do the 
same, shortening the contest. 
What point there was in pro- 

BLACK CORRIDOR 


longing the contest for as long 
a time as possible, he couldn’t 
define, but he was sure there 
was one. 

Naturally he was pushing at 
the wall to keep himself from be- 
ing crushed when the glimmering 
black box shortened to nothing. 
Yet surely the sane thing to do 
would be to inspect the two doors 
behind him and escape by way 
of one of them, instead of pour- 
ing out his remaining strength 
here. But no, he had such a deep 
if undefined horror of the two 
doors that he was determined to 
have nothing to do with them 
unless absolutely forced to. 
Whether sane or not, the pre- 
ferable course now was to op- 
pose the wall with all his might. 

Slowly his muscles began to 
bulge and his heartbeat and res- 
piration to speed up, though he 
made himself take the same deep, 
even, controlled breaths. A bead 
of sweat stung the inside corner 
of his left eye. He had to keep 
reminding himself not to waste 
energy grinding his teeth and on 
no account to yield to the temp- 
tation to shove out with sudden 
violence or begin to shout curs- 
es. I mustn’t let the wall trick 
me, he thought fiercely. 

His muscles began to ache, his 
breaths were now deep snorts. 
He became aware of his heart- 
beat and felt the blood throbbing 
in his temples and wrists. He 

123 


heard little creakings here and 
there in his body, or thought he 
did. Despite himself, his teeth 
began to clench tighter and 
tighter. 

The pain in his muscles in- 
creased. There was fire in his 
joints. He broke wind, and that 
rattled him and almost threw 
him off guard. He could feel the 
sweat trickling down his back 
and legs. He prayed that it 
wouldn’t make him slip. It was 
running into his eyes now, so 
that he blinked constantly. Un- 
der his chin it pooled in the tiny 
cup between the bent thumb and 
curled forefinger of his clenched 
left fist. 

But he knew the wall still 
hadn’t budged him, chiefly be- 
cause it was silent — no whine, 
no scream. 

Tn the midst of his near agony, 

there flashed up in his mind 
one sane reason for keeping up 
his seemingly insane struggle: 
the hope that a connection might 
bum out in the engine powering 
the wall, or something in it break, 
or its fuel run out, or the crea- 
ture or creatures pushing the 
wall from the other side tire be- 
fore he did. Then he might be 
able to push the wall back, even 
as far as the fork in the tunnel, 
making it unnecessary to investi- 
gate the two doors ahead. 

His heart and head were 


pounding now, there was a roar- 
ing in his ears, he was breathing 
in deep, open-mouthed gasps, his 
body was one flame, through his 
sweat-smarting eyes the wall 
seemed dazzling one moment, 
dead black the next, he felt con- 
sciousness ebbing, but still he 
stuck to his labor. 

With a scream like a hunting 
leopard close by, the wall gave 
a mighty shove that sent him 
staggering back. The scream sank 
to a loud whine, and the wall 
came on at the speed of ungoad- 
ed oxen. 

Though his mind was swim- 
ming and he could barely stand, 
and while he was still breathing 
in great, wide-mouthed, acid 
gasps, he turned at once and 
walked in long strides toward the 
two doors. And though he reeled 
from side to side, his legs cramp- 
ing and his arms hanging like 
fiery bars of lead, he neverthe- 
less went on tiptoe, fearing that 
any extra sound he made might 
speed up the wall. 

He was burning when he start- 
ed that five-stride journey. When 
he finished it he was shivering 
and the sweat on him was icy 
and his teeth were chattering. 

By the time he was within 
touching distance of the doors, 
his mind and body had steadied, 
but he still had to blink twice 
before he could read the short 
words under the two buttons. 


124 


GALAXY 


The one said WATER, the 
other AIR. 

With the eager whine coming 
swiftly closer and closer, he 
lashed himself to think. Let’s see, 
air could mean emptiness and 
height, a great fall. He couldn’t 
fly, hell, he could hardly stand. 

But he could swim. Water was 
necessary to life. Life came orig- 
inally from the seas. 

Yet he could also drown. 

Acrophobia versus hydropho- 
bia. 

As the well struck his heels 
and pushed him on, this time 
with a merciless lack of hesita- 
tion, and as he zigged a finger 
toward the button on the WA- 
TER door, an afterthought came 
to him in a flash. 

Air was also necessary to life. 
He still had enough water in 
him, even after his sweating, to 
live at least a day. But he would 
be dead without air, or his brain 
would be dead, in about five 
minutes. 

He zagged his finger to the AIR 
button. That door opened away 
from him, and he stumbled 
through it, pushed by the wall, 
and it slammed shut behind him. 

IT e wasn’t falling through emp- 
tiness, or standing in the 
open either, for that matter. He 
was simply in another section of 
black corridor. 

He staggered forward a few 


steps and then between relief and 
exhaustion collapsed to his knees 
and hands. His roaring head 
slumped, his eyes staring dully at 
the faintly gritty metallic floor 
while he gulped oxygen. 

After a short time he looked 
around him. The corridor wall on 
the WATER-door side wasn’t 
shimmering black metal as he 
had taken for granted, but must 
be heavy glass or some other 
transparent amorphous sub- 
stance, for in it were small silvery 
fish, a few small squid jetting 
about, and some speeding 
faintly-phosphorescent veils he 
couldn’t identify, all lodged in 
dark water which rose at least 
to the roof of that other corri- 
dor. 

He congratulated himself that 
he’d made the right choice, even 
on a last-minute hunch. 

By right (except that the uni- 
verse doesn’t recognize rights) 
the corridor he was in should 
have been halved in width, but 
it was as broad as before. He 
deduced that it had acquired ex- 
tra width on the side away from 
the water. 

He looked ahead, and there 
were two more doors, each with a 
glowing button and a short word 
he couldn’t make out. 

With a feeling of “This is too 
much,” he sprawled full length 
on the floor, as if to sleep. One 
of his feet touched the transpar- 


BLACK CORRIDOR 


125 


ent wall, while the elbow of the 
arm pillowing his head touched 
the wall opposite. He closed his 
eyes. 

It was only then he realized 
that the sound in his ears wasn’t 
the roaring and ringing in his 
head dying away, but the wail 
of the oncoming wall. 

Ouch was his weariness and sud- 
^ den fatalistic disinterest that 
he didn’t tense, let alone jump 
up. He didn’t even open his eyes. 

Cool metal struck him along 
leg and side, gently but inflexi- 
bly. He let the wall roll him over 
twice before he resignedly scram- 
bled to his feet. There was no 
sign in the advancing wall of 
the doorway by which he had 
entered. Stepping backward 
evenly, he swept a fingernail 
across the wall without hearing 
or feeling the faintest tick. Then 
he turned and trotted on to the 
next two doors. 

They were marked FIRE and 
EARTH, and he punched the 
button of the second almost with- 
out physical hesitation, though 
there was the flash of a wonder- 
ing whether EARTH might not 
be the name of a star or moon. 

The main course of his nearly 
instantaneous reasoning had 
been: Fire will kill me — and 
don’t give me any tricky plays 
on meaning that there is a slow 
“fire” in my flesh and in all life. 


While earth — hell, even if it 
packed the next corridor to the 
top, I could scramble my way 
in to it before the wall caught 
up. 

Tucked into that flash of 
reasoning there had even been 
the crafty though qualified de- 
duction: If this door opens in- 
ward like the first, there’s bound 
to be some space behind it. 
Though who says doors have to 
obey rules? This one might slide 
sideways. 

The door did open inward, and 
he trotted through almost with- 
out a break in his step, and it 
slammed shut behind him. 

For a moment he thought he 
had been cruelly tricked. The 
whole corridor ahead glared with 
an irregularly pulsing red like a 
forest fire. 

Then he realized he couldn’t 
smell a speck of burning or feel 
any radiant heat. All the flaring 
red was coming through the 
transparent wall on the FIRE- 
door side. There, great flames 
writhed crowdedly from ceiling 
to floor. Here, it was cool, while 
the floor had changed from 
slightly gritty metal to even 
cooler packed earth, the dry and 
faintly sour smell of which now 
came to him. He reached out and 
gingerly brushed the transperent 
wall. It was barely warm, but 
he supposed it could be double, 
with insulating vacuum between. 


126 


GALAXY 


Why radiant heat didn’t still 
come through, he didn’t know. 

It did not surprise him to dis- 
cover that his corridor was as 
broad as ever and ended in two 
more labeled doors. Without hes- 
itation he trotted toward them. 
This time he read the labels by 
the red glare of the flames. They 
were DEMONS and TIGERS. 

A t each word he felt a different 
quiver of fear. Easy enough 
to laugh at the concept of de- 
mons when in the midst of a 
wise and scientifically sophisti- 
cated civilization. Or to smile 
warily at tigers, for that mat- 
ter, when cradling in your arms 
some potent energy weapon. But 
alone down here in this labyrinth, 
naked and unarmed, it was an- 
other matter. 

Also the change in pace of the 
choice he had to make rattled 
him. This one had almost a 
fairy-tale quality. But there had 
been nothing of light fantasy, so 
far, in his experiences down here. 
Everything had been implacably 
real, especially the wall. Even 
demons would be real down here, 
probably. It occurred to him, 
too, that he had been lucky un- 
til now and had survived by 
playing hunches. The AIR door 
could have plunged him into 
emptiness. EARTH might have 
smothered or instantly blocked 
him, while he seemed to recall 


creatures who could walle 
through fire, at least for ten 
yards. This time he must really 
analyze. 

But how? His mind felt use- 
less. He even thought of digging 
a hole for himself in the dirt, 
so the wall would pass over him. 
But the earth was hard as adobe. 

A mounting hungry snarl made 
him glance hurriedly back. The 
wall was coming on at a speed 
greater than that to which he 
had provoked it by his all-out 
attempt to hold it back, and it 
was barely five yards away, the 
same distance as when he had 
made his split-second EARTH- 
choice in the last section of the 
corridor. It had more than can- 
celed the time-advantage that 
quick decision had gained him; 
it had given him no credit for 
it at all. The wall wasn’t fair! 

The thoughts started as he 
whirled around. Demons don’t 
exist, are superstitious. Every- 
where? Outside this red-lit tight- 
ening tomb is a universe incom- 
prehensively vast. Somewhere 
there may be demons, and the 
mere word symbolizes a power 
greater than that of creatures. 

Tigers are real. But I remem- 
ber someone killing a tiger bare- 
handed. A leopard, anyhow. But 
tigers, plural? 

The wall struck him. With the 
thought that demons may exist 
and be able to kill me, but only 


BLACK CORRIDOR 


127 


an idiot takes on tigers, plural, 
where there’s an alternative, he 
jabbed the DEMONS button 
and was through that door and 
in turn locked in by it before 
he could think again. 

A gain he believed he’d been 
cruelly tricked. Facing him 
a few yards away in the glim- 
mering black corridor were two 
huge felines with silky black fur 
and green eyes glinting with evil 
intelligence. They lashed their 
great tails. They writhed their 
powerful shoulders. Their claws 
scraped the gritty metal floor 
like chalk rasping on slate. They 
carried their white-fanged heads 
low, their green eyes glaring up 
at him. While from their throats 
issued snarls louder and more 
menacing that that of the wall. 

But at that moment the wall 
once .more struck him. Almost 
before he knew it, he was run- 
ning toward the magnified black 
panthers, his eyes squinted, his 
shoulders hunched. 

They reared up, unsheathing 
their scimitar claws, fully baring 
their fangs, and screaming like 
black trumpets in a satanic 
symphony. To keep himself from 
stopping he had to remind him- 
self: They’re not black panthers 
bigger than tigers, they’re only 
demons. 

As he ran between them, he 
felt their hot breaths, their 


bristly fur, but nothing more. 
Through eyes squinting side- 
ways toward the TIGERS-door 
wall, he glimpsed glassed-in 
moonlit jungle and gliding 
through it, palely and darkly 
striped, flat-sided felines a little 
smaller than his demons. 

Then he was facing doors 
glow-labeled REAL and UN- 
REAL, while the wall, not de- 
mons, snarled at his heels. 

Last time I picked the unreal 
and won, he thought. Maybe 1 
should again. But demons are 
only a tiny sub-branch of the 
small branch of the unreal label- 
ed “ supernatural beings.” In the 
realm of the unreal is also insan- 
ity, psychosis, the innumerable 
delusions of locked-up minds 
completely out of touch with 
reality and lacking even internal 
organization, a sea of locked-in 
microcosms adrift and lost, never 
to know each other, even the 
nearest. While the realm of the 
real holds a hell of a lot besides 
tigers. 

He was pressing the REAL 
button as the wall slammed him. 
Then he was through the REAL 
door and this time running fast 
as he could down the black cor- 
ridor toward the next pair. I-Ic 
kept his eyes averted from the 
UNREAL side of the corridor, 
for through its transparency he 
glimpsed a psychedelic churning 
of colors and forms, constantly 


128 


GALAXY 


patterning and unpatteming, 
which he sensed might derange 
any mind behind eyes which 
stared very long. 

The next two doors were la- 
beled INSTANT PAINLESS 
DEATH and TORTURE. 

VTow they’ve quit playing 

' around with me, he thought. 
They’re slamming it at. me, but 
good. Something’s reached down 
deep, deep inside me and brought 
up the slimiest black noggin of 
them all. 

Let’s see, they say even tor- 
ture comes to an end. Yes, in 
death. Why not pick painless 
death to start with? Makes 
sense. But back there I picked 
the real. Torture is a part of 
the real. While death is unreality 
squared, cubed and to the nth 
power. With torture, there’s a 
chance of survival, with death 
no chance at all. Tautology. 

As the wall came screaming up 
behind him and he pushed the 
TORTURE button, he thought, 
Well, at least I’m not strapped 
down yet, and to stop that I’ll 
fight as hard as I pushed against 
the wall. 

He was in another section of 
corridor, all glimmering black 
this time, no transparent wall, 
and coming toward him was an 
anthropoid being or machine, the 
shape and size of a gorilla, ex- 
cept it had no head. It kept 


swinging apart its long arms and 
then bringing them together, as 
if to embrace someone tightly, 
while its stubby legs planted and 
replanted themselves firmly. 

It was made of metal and 
covered with sharp spikes that 
were stubby except for five long, 
curving talons ending each arm. 
An iron maiden turned inside 
out. 

Choosing a moment when its 
arms were swinging apart, he 
punched it with all his might 
high in the center of its chest. 

It slowly toppled over back- 
wards, landed with a sharp crash, 
and lay there on its back with 
its stubby legs planting and re- 
planting themselves in air and 
its long arms swinging apart and 
closing together, clashing the 
floor of the corridor each time 
they were parted widest. 

The screaming wall struck him 
from behind. Choosing the next 
time the metal arms swung in- 
ward, he darted past the thing 
and sprinted to the next pair 
of doors, noting there was more 
lettering below one button than 
he’d ever seen before. 

That door was labeled PER- 
PETUAL SOLITARY CON- 
FINEMENT IN HAPPY COM- 
FORT. The other said only 
DEATH OR LIFE. 

He thought, Last time I opted 
against death. Shouldn’t I do so 
again? 


BLACK CORRIDOR 


129 


T> ehind him, a scraping ana 
■*“* clashing mixed with the 
scream of the wall. Of course, 
it was the wall pushing the 
spiked automaton before it. 

He thought, solitary confine- 
ment in happy comfort. That 
sounds like being drunk forever, 
without hangovers. All alone with 
an infinity of glorious, glowing 
thoughts and unending wonder- 
ful dreams. 

But all alone. 

An even chance at life is bet- 
ter than that. Any chance of 
life is better than that. 

With tlae screaming and scrap- 
ing and clashing just behind 
him, he frantically jabbed the 
DEATH OR LIFE button and 
plunged out into a wide, long 
patio roofed by a fabric through 
which violet light filtered onto 
a smoothly tiled floor, and he 
stood there gasping and shak- 
ing. Behind a table nearby, a 
woman in the professional whites 
of a nurse was working quietly 
at some charts. When his breath- 
ing had evened out, she looked 
up at him and, lifting a gray 
looseleaf folder, said, “Hello. 
Here are your name and per- 
sonal history, to read when you 
wish.” After a faintly smiling 
pause she added, “Do you have 
any immediate questions?” 

After a while he said, frown- 
ing, “I think I get it about the 
last four pairs of buttons. But 

130 


about the first two, would I 
have died if I’d picked water 
or fire?” 

She replied, “I am not at liber- 
ty to answer that. There are 
many branchings in the corri- 
dors.” 

He still frowned as he moved 
slowly toward the table. 

“Is something else bothering 
you?” she asked. 

He nodded somewhat surlily 
and said, “When I punched the 
Torture button, I didn’t really 
get any. There was only that 
witless robot.” 

“You are difficult to please,” 
she replied. “Wasn’t it torture 
enough, what happened to your 
hand?” 

He lifted it, still balled in a 
fist, and studied the eight circu- 
lar wounds, from which blood 
slowly dripped, and felt the dull 
pain. Then he reached for the 
gray folder in her hand, noting 
that her other was a gleaming 
gray metal prosthetic with eight 
slim many-jointed fingers like a 
spider’s legs. 

As he touched the folder he 
felt a surge of frantic curiosity 
and started to flip it open but 
caught himself and instead, car- 
rying it half rolled, began to walk 
slowly down the patio, then more 
rapidly as he neared the ballus- 
trade of gray metal marking its 
end. 

Resting his hands on the warm 
GALAXY 


smooth rail, he looked out at the 
prospect dropping gently away. 

Tn a pale yellow sky, a violet 
-®-sun was sinking behind round- 
ed hills ten miles away. Its pur- 
pling beams shone on a valley 
half filled with cultivated red- 
dish fields and scarlet trees and 
half with evenly ranked transpar- 
ent tubes, through which rushed 
fluids shading from pink to 
crimson of some sort of algae 
farming. Midway to the hills, be- 
side a meandering river, was a 
town with irregularly spaced 
round pastel roofs, mostly low. 
Here and there he made out 
the figures of two-legged beasts 
and six-legged ones, the latter 
carrying their foremost limbs 
high, like centaurs. From some- 


where came a faint piping and a 
fainter, complexly rhythmic 
drumming. It looked like a good 
planet. 

After a while he could learn 
its name and all about it, just as 
after a while he could learn from 
the folder, reassuringly bulked 
between his fingers, his own 
name and what he’d feared and 
flinched away from into the 
black inner corridor which had 
become the black therapeutic 
corridor from which he’d now 
emerged. And after a while he 
could go back to the nurse and 
have her fix his hand, the dull 
pain of which was oddly re- 
assuring. 

For the moment it was enough 
to know he was alive and a 
man. —FRITZ LEIBER 


This month in If — 

OCEAN ON TOP 

by Hal Clement 

ALL JUDGMENT FLED 

by James White 

ANSWERING SERVICE 

by Fritz Leiber 

WHEN SEA IS BORN AGAIN 

by C. C. MacApp 

Don't miss the December If, on sale now! 

Voted World's Best SF Magazine Second Straight Year! 

nsisisistsis>isisisisistsi^is,s^siststsisnsisis)siisistmsistsistsmsisi: 



ELACK CORRIDOR 


131 





. ■. 

* •• • 

• • ■ - n 


The Red Euphoric Bands 


* • by PHILIP LATHAM • • 

gf 

The comet threatened to destroy 
< , • the Earth. But what possible 

4 * 

difference did that make to us? 


A fter some hesitation I’ve de- 
cided to present this ma- 
terial pretty much as I originally 
wrote it, instead of recasting it 
in the formal type suitable for 
scientific publication. The trou- 
ble with scientific papers today 
is that they all sound as if they 
were written by the same person, 
an omnipotent individual who 
proceeds step by step, never fal- 
tering, to the logical outcome of 
his researches. But scientists are 
human beings; they make mis- 
takes, act on impulses, and play 
their hunches, even as you and 
I. Certainly in my own case it 
would be downright dishonest to 
pretend otherwise, as the record 
will show. So without further 
apology here is the story of Paul 


Finch. (From his soup-stained 
diary of 1975.) 

1794, Dec. 19 

I feel terrible. Thoroughly de- 
pressed and tired of life. 

The regular end-of-the-year 
letter from the bursar arrived this 
morning. According to the dis- 
embodied personality who writes 
these missives . . Van Buren 
University is happy to inform 
you of your reappointment as 
Associate Professor of Astronomy 
at the same honorarium as in the 
previous year.” 

What makes this annual insult 
especially irritating is the cosy 
language in which it is couched. 
Why should they be “happy” to 
inform me of my reappointment? 


132 



.When I know only perfectly well 
they’d be only too glad to get 
rid of me. Why an “Associate” 
Professor? I don’t “associate” 
with anybody, not if I can help it 
at least. Why do they persist 
in referring my miserable little 
salary as an “honorarium”? 
Where does the “honor” come 
in? 

Oh, well, I didn’t expect a raise 
anyhow. I suppose I should be 
grateful for the privilege of be- 
ing allowed to continue withering 
on the vine till my enforced re- 
tirement at 65. Only six more 
years to go now. To go where? 
With another world war prac- 
tically here. 

I’ll bet Peabody and Wad- 
strom both got healthy raises. I 
can tell from the smug look on 
their homely faces. Furthermore, 
I know that they know that I 
didn’t get a raise. 

I might as well admit it — I’m 
in a nit. God! If I could only 
uncover something big again. Not 
much chance working on paral- 
laxes and proper motions. Had 
all my luck right at the start. 

I’m the discoverer of Finch 17, 
the nearest star to the Earth. 
Nobody can take that away from 
me. Stumbled on it by pure 
dumb luck. Red dwarf about 2 
ly’s away, half the distance of 
Alpha Centauri.* Created a sen- 
sation at the time. Fortune mag- 
azine voted me one of Ameri- 


ca’s ten scientists under thirty 
most likely to succeed. And I 
believed it! Never done much 
of anything since. Tried hard 
though. Still my proper motion 
catalogue will be cut soon, a 
good solid piece of work. Better 
than that theoretical stuff Wad- 
strom keeps turning out by the 
bale. 

Jan. 11 

Situation has deteriorated till 
war looks inevitable now. Ex- 
perts predict it’ll be all over in 
about thirty minutes. Curious 
thing is nobody wants war, no- 
body’s mad at anybody else. 
Everybody’s for love and peace. 
Yet we go right ahead getting 
ready for war. 

You might expect speeches de- 
nouncing the warmongers, draft- 
card burning parties, protest 
marches, etc., like back in the 
60’s. Nothing like that today. In- 
stead hoplessness and apathy 
prevail. People go around as if 
they’re in a trance. I think Pea- 
body’s cracking up. He came in 
yesterday looking completely 
shattered. 

“Finch, do me a favor, will 


* Finch 17, p = 1V670, corresponding 
to distance of 0.599 parsecs or 1.953 ly’s. 
Second nearest star is Alpha Centauri, a 
binary, distant 4.3 ly’s, with 3rd member 
of system, Proxima, believed slightly 
nearer. 


THE RED EUPHORIC BANDS 


133 


you? Take my Astronomy 1 class 
this afternoon.” 

Since his lecture schedule is 
lighter than mine this semester 
I wasn’t too enthusiastic. 

“Something wrong?” I inquir- 
ed. 

“It’s the students.” 

“What’s the matter with ’em?” 
“Haven’t you noticed? They’re 
so quiet lately. Sit there all 
through the hour . . . not moving 
. . . staring straight ahead — ” 
“Is that bad?” 

“ — with that bewildered wide- 
eyed expression you see on the 
faces , of those dummies they use 
for crash-testing buses and air- 
planes.” 

“Probably on some new kind 
of dope. Watermelon rind or 
pumpkin seeds.” 

“Finch, you’re way behind the 
times. All that psychedelic stuff 
went out long ago. Never really 
helped. Kids had to find it out 
the hard way. I think that’s 
where the trouble comes.” 
“Afraid I don’t follow.” 

“If war comes they’re sure to 
be killed. They know they’ll be 
killed. There’s no escape. They 
can’t even escape for a little 
while in their minds any more.” 
Peabody bent closer. 

“You know what I call them?” 
“Haven’t the foggiest notion.” 
“Reverse zombies,” he said, in 
a hoarse whisper. “They’re live 
people who think they’re dead.” 

134 


“Well, all right,” I told him, 
“if it’s that bad I’ll take over 
these zombies of yours.” 

I thought he was going to 
fall on my neck. 

“Thanks a million, Finch, old 
boy. Do the same for you some 
time.” 

He was off like a shot but I 
caught him at the door. 

“By the way, what are you 
on right now?” 

His face went blank. 

“Let’s see . . . what are we 
on now? Can’t remember. Give 
’em the moon . . . Kepler’s laws 
. . . anything .” 

A neurotic personality if I ever 
saw one. 

Feb. 18 

You can avoid this mass som- 
nambulism if you keep yourself 
busy. 

Just started a program on this 
new Comet Ikegawa. The orbit 
people have appealed for ob- 
servations so I thought I’d lend 
a hand. Remarkable object. Dis- 
covered out around the orbit of 
Saturn at 10 au. Can’t recall 
any comet being picked up so 
far from perihelion before. 

The astronomy department’s 
a shambles. Peabody is home en- 
joying a nervous breakdown. 
Had to cancel all his class- 
es. Wadstrom’s always running 
around with a letter and a grim 


GALAXY 


expression. How could Van Bur- 
en U survive witfiout him? 

June 19 

Working at the telescope on 
Comet Ikegawa has brought 
back old times, when I was still 
fairly young and the world com- 
paratively peaceful. Although 
the war was shaping up even 
then if we’d had the sense to 
see it. 

Been giving the comet 90 min- 
utes on these new 113pan-Q 
plates. Had to catch it in the 
early morning sky. So calm 
and peaceful nights. Looking up 
through the dome it’s hard to 
believe a bomb might come 
hurtling out of those stars. 

Ninety minutes seem forever 
when you’re working alone. You 
think of all sort of things: your 
first date . . . the difference 
between a moth and butterfly 
. . . how the eggplant is allied 
to the potato. One thing especial- 
ly my mind keeps going back 
to again and again is that re- 
port of the American Biological 
Society last year in Chicago. The 
biologists’ committee on extra- 
terrestrial life issued a report 
you could really understand, a 
rare event in scientific annals. 
The words stick in my memory. 

“. . . the development of a 
brain and central nervous sys- 
tem of such enormous com- 
plexity as ours was an event of 

THE RED EUPHORIC BANDS 


fantastic improbability. It could 
not happen twice. In our opinion 
the Earth is the only place in 
the universe where life exists.” 

Think of it! Our miserable lit- 
tle Earth — the only place in the 
universe where life exists. 

June 23 

Comet Ikegawa 4s brightening 
so fast, got a look at it in the 
dawn sky this morning. You can 
make it out even after sunrise 
if you know exactly where to 
look. Although much closer to 
us the increase in luminosity is 
due principally to the sun. We’d 
better do all the looking while 
we can, for this comet will never 
be back. It’s a retrograde ob- 
ject moving in a parabolic or 
possibly slightly hyperbolic or- 
bit. A “sun grazer” similar to 
1965f (Ikeya-Seki), but definite- 
ly not a member of that comet 
group. Comet Ikegawa will en- 
counter the Earth twice, early 
in September and again on No- 
vember 7. It’ll miss by 21 million 
miles in September, but the one 
on Nov. 7 will be real close, 
although just how close is hard 
to say. Orbit isn’t too reliable. 
Still got some residuals exceed- 
ing a minute of arc. 

July 7 

Comet Ikegawa is a splendid 
naked-eye object now. Head 
shines up there in full daylight 

135 


twice the size of the moon and 
you can follow the tail out more 
than 3°, if you block off the sun 
with the tower on the library 
building. 

A bright comet is an impres- 
sive sight all right. No wonder 
ignorant people in the middle 
ages were filled with superstitious 
fear. Looking at Comet Ikegawa 
I feel kind of awestruck myself. 

August 1 

If I had my way all comets 
would be below naked-eye visi- 
bility. Since the comet flared up 
so bright everybody is out gawk- 
ing at it now. Some of their 
thinking is positively medieval! 
In fact, I’m beginning to wonder 
if we ever got out of the Dark 
Ages. One thing the comet has 
done which I would never have 
believed possible. It’s snapped us 
out of our trance. 

Under the constant threat of 
instant annihilation our lives had 
ceased to have any meaning. 
Only the present had any reali- 
ty. Things happened to us. But 
they happened as in a dream, 
we moved from one event to an- 
other without purpose or con- 
scious volition on our part. 

But the comet is for real. You 
can see it. You can watch it 
move from hour to hour. It must 
mean something. Otherwise why 
is it there? First we were going 
to be smashed to bits. Then it 


was death by suffocation from 
poison gas. Result is we’re pest- 
ered all day by phone calls from 
hysterical old dames wanting to 
know when they’re going to be 
asphyxiated. 

August 3 

Wadstrom has honored me 
with his presence. He had a yel- 
low slip in his hand. 

“Seen this telegram about the 
comet?” he said. 

I shook my head'. “I was work- 
ing on the comet late last night. 
Didn’t get here till after lunch.” 

His face assumed a disapprov- 
ing expression as if sitting up 
all night with a telescope was 
no excuse for not being on the 
job bright and early next morn- 
ing. 

“The Poulkovo Observatory 
reports presence of cyanogen and 
carbon monoxide in the spectrum 
of the head and tail,” he said. 
“Also, unidentified bands in the 
red and infrared.” 

Wadstrom always attaches tre- 
mendous importance to the spec- 
trum of anything, probably be- 
cause it’s a subject he doesn’t 
know anything about. He’s an 
authority on tidal evolution and 
wouldn’t know the G band from 
a gonorrhea smear. 

“You understand this infor- 
mation must remain strictly con- 
fidential,” he said, replacing the 
telegram in his coat pocket. 


136 


GALAXY 


“Why is that the case, hmm?” 
“If word leaked out about 
poison gas in the comet all hell 
would break loose.” 

“How awful!” 

“Remember — not a word.” 
“My lips are sealed.” 

With this burden off his mind 
he was able to relax a little. 

“There’s been a press con- 
ference on the comet scheduled 
for this afternoon,” he said. 
“Public’s invited too. I hope we 
can scotch some of these wild 
rumors flying around.” 

“Good luck.” 

“Finch, it would be a big help 
if you could put a diagram on 
the board showing the relative 
positions of Earth and comet.” 
“When’s this meeting sched- 
uled?” 

“Four sharp in Hildegarde 
Hall.” 

“All right,” I told him. “I guess 
I can manage it.” 

“I’d appreciate it if you 
could.” He glanced at his watch. 
“Don’t forget, that’s four sharp.” 
The diagram turned out to be 
kind of fun. So far I’d been in- 
terested chiefly in the comet’s 
position relative to the Earth and 
sun and hadn’t paid much at- 
tention to its orbital elements. 
Now for the first time I had 
to give the elements a good hard 
look. I copied them down on 
the same card along with the 
orbit. 


It was ten. till four when I 
reached Hildegarde Hall. Wad- 
strom or somebody had bad- 
ly underestimated our drawing 
power. The auditorium was jam- 
packed, with hundreds more 
clamoring for admission. By the 
time they’d set up some loud- 
speakers out on the lawn and 
got a few other things under con- 
trol, it was nearly five. After a 
few introductory remarks by the 
president, the meeting was 
thrown open to questions. 

“Is this a big comet?” 

Wadstrom took this one. 

“Yes, I think we are justified 
in describing Comet Ikegawa as 
a ‘big one,’ ” he replied. “Com- 
ets seldom are bright enough to 
be discovered until within the 
orbit of Jupiter. This one was 
discovered slightly beyond the 
orbit of Saturn.” 

“Where do comets come 
from?” 

Wadstrom shook his head re- 
gretfully. 

“There is an old theory that 
comets are born of volcanic erup- 
tions from Jupiter or possibly its 
giant satellites. Another has 
them originating in a vast comet 
cloud surrounding the solar sys- 
tem, It was once thought that 
comets reached us from the 
realm of the stars, but that idea 
is now generally rejected. The 
truth of the matter is we don’t 
know where comets come from.” 


THE RED EUPHORIC BANDS 


137 


“How close is Comet Ikegawa 
coming to the Earth?” 

“Within only about twenty 
million miles at the first encoun- 
ter this month on the 23rd. The 
second encounter on November 
7, however, will be very close.” 

One of the newspaper men had 
a question. “How close is ‘very 
close’?” 

Wadstrom looked grave. 

“Unfortunately no definite an- 
swer is possible yet. The orbit 
still requires improvement. Let 
us say . . . within the distance 
of the moon.” 

“How does it happen the com- 
et makes two close approaches 
to the Earth?” 

“An interesting question,” was 
Waldstrom’s comment. “I be- 
lieve that my colleague, Dr. 
Finch, can enlighten us on that 
point.” 

I went to the blackboard and 
began fumbling for my card. To 
my consternation I couldn’t find 
it. I located it finally, but it gave 
me a bad scare. 

“This represents the orbit of 
the Earth,” I said, drawing a 
wobbly circle on the board. “This 
line here points to the vernal 
equinox, from which we measure 
directions in space. When the 
sun reaches the vernal equinox 
about March 21, then spring is 
here.” This was meant to be 
funny, but nobody laughed. 

“To draw in the comet we first 


have to know how its orbit is 
oriented in space. We do this 
from the longitude of perihelion, 
the point on the orbit nearest 
the sun.” 

Ordinarily I would have had 
the sense to skip such technical- 
ities; but I was nervous, and 
talking out loud to myself 
helped steady me. 

“Starting at the vernal equi- 
nox, we measure off the longitude 
of the ascending node around 
this way,” I informed my un- 
comprehending audience. “And 
then since this is a retrograde 
comet, we set off the argument 
of perihelion the other way. 
Which fixes perihelion for us 
here, in longitude 186°.” 

I remained mute staring at 
the number. There was some- 
thing familiar about it I should 
know. Now what was it? It was 
right here on the tip of. my 
tongue. . . . Got it! Of course ! 

I’m not very clear about the 
rest of the meeting. My mind 
was too busy elsewhere. It seems 
to me the reporters worked us 
around into a comer with their 
questions. After a while we were 
answering them all the same way, 
“Nobody knows.” 

Sept. 12 

Life for me has become in- 
tensely interesting. 

It happened when I blanked 
out at the blackboard trying to 


138 


GALAXY 



locate that comet’s perihelion. 
Only it wasn’t perihelion that 
interested me. It was the direc- 
tion of the point opposite that 
caught my attention. For is it this 
point that tells us the direction 
in space from which the comet 
came. I was sure I recognized it. 
The direction was the same as 
Finch 17, in Cetus. 

Now comets approach the sun 

THE RED EUPHORIC BANDS 


Orbits of Eartb and Com- 
et Ikegawa showing their 
encounter on Nov. 7 , 1975. 
The comet approaches Earth 
along broken line to ascend- 
ing node, cT& .Comet Is above 
. lane of Earth's orbit brief- 
along continuous line to 
• eseending node,^-?. After- 
ward below plane of Earth's 
rbit along broken line 
again. 

Notice motion of Comet 
Ikegawa is clockwise or ret- 
rograde. 

During May and June the 
comet would be an early morn- 
ing object nearly stationary in 
Pisces and Cetus. Toward end of 
August the comet would sud- 
denly start moving apparently 
with terrific speed, switching 
around to the opposite part of 
the sky in Virgo. The stars of 
these constellations would not be 
visible, of course, since comet 
would be in daylight sky. After 
passing its descending nodeli* on 
Nov. 7, the comet would do an- 
other lightning switcharound into 
Cetus again. 

It should be noticed that the prox- 
imity of the comet to the Earth would 
be of little help in photographing its 
spectrum, since its brightness per unit 
area of surface would not be affected. 
Principal changes in spectrum wouldi 
depend upon varying distance from sun. 

from all directions in space. 
Comet Ikewaga could have come 
in from Cetus as well as any 
other old constellation. Cetus oc- 
cupies quite a bit of territory. If 
it had merely been the same 
constellation I’d never have giv- 
en it a moment’s thought. Just 
a coincidence. But was it a coin- 
cidence when this direction fell 
within 5 minutes of my star? 

139 


Could star and comet be as- 
sociated in some way? 

I’ve done a lot of thinking 
about it since then. It is a very 
tempting hypothesis. Without in- 
dependent evidence to back it 
up, however, I am compelled to 
reject it. 

Oct. 2 

The story about finding carbon 
monoxide and cyanogen in Com- 
et Ikegawa was all over the front 
page this morning. Wish I could 
have seen Wadstrom’s face. 
Nothing secret about CO-f- and 
CN being in a comet anyhow. 
It’s something we’ve known for 
about a hundred years. 

Actually the spectrum hasn’t 
been too exciting so far, the us- 
ual bright bands on a solar type 
background. Interest is centered 
chiefly in the weak emission fea- 
tures in the red around 6400 A, 
which don’t seem to match with 
anything in the ARCS.* But 
identification is next to impos- 
sible on the low dispersion spec- 
tra they’ve got now, lOOA/mm. 
Maybe the bands will pep up 
after perihelion on Oct. 6. 

Oct. 21 

It seems to me it was about a 
million years ago that I wrote, 
“Nobody wants war. Nobody’s 
mad at anybody.” 

Not true any more. War fever’s 
got us. 

* Atlas of Representative Cometary 
Spectrum. 


You can blame it on the com- 
et. Sounds crazy to say that, 
doesn’t it? It is crazy. Yet in a 
a way the comet’s responsible. 

The comet blazing in the day- 
light sky was hailed enthusiastic- 
ally by the lunatic fringe as a 
sure sign of death. With the 
country in an acute state of war 
jitters people were ready to be- 
lieve most anything. To avert a 
panic the government had scien- 
tists go on TV issuing soothing 
statements, there’s no cause for 
alarm, don’t listen to the proph- 
ets of doom, etc. 

Then just when the situation 
was calming down what happen- 
ed? The confounded comet 
changed from white to red — 
blood red. That did it. 

Astronomers tried to explain 
how the blood color was due 
to red rays emitted by molecules 
of the coma. What molecules? 
Well ... we don’t know. 

November 3 

Mass hysteria is always hard to 
resist. 

Comet Ikegawa still shows 
puzzling deviations from predic- 
tion. With so many observations 
available the orbit should be 
nailed down tight. Yet perihelion 
occurred about 30 minutes ahead 
of schedule. 

How close is the comet com- 
ing on Nov. 7? You can take 
your choice. Forecasts range from 


140 


GALAXY 


0.00091 au (Poulkovo) to 0.0171 
an (UC at Berkeley.)* 

Nov. 7, 10:10 P.M. 

This is the night. I’m here in 
my office writing this in a last 
effort to hold onto my sanity. 
The campus is dark. Everybody 
else has taken cover, I guess. 

Poor comet! Supposed to reach 
its descending node in about an 
hour. It’ll be all around us while 
we’re passing through the coma. 

If I could only do something 
noble for science on this historic 
occasion! Something great that 
would be retold in ages to come. 
Like Galois penning his theory 
of groups in frantic haste on the 
night of his fatal duel. 

Nov. 7, 10:37 P.M. 

Mob’s awfully close. Once on 
campus they’ll smash the ob- 
servatory sure. Nothing I can do. 

All right. I’m ready to die. I’m 
tired of this world. Glad to be 
leaving it. In this final hour I 
think of those words from In- 
conscious. 

Out of the night that 
covers me, 

Black as the pit from 
pole to pole. . . . 

1:20 A.M. 

Dammit! I’ve changed my 
mind. I don’t want to die now. 

*85,000 miles to 1,600,000 miles. 


Got an idea for a possible check 
on at tie-in between the comet 
and Finch 17. Good old sub- 
conscious. 

Got so absorbed in this idea 
forgot about everything else. Sud- 
denly struck me after about an 
hour I was still alive and the 
world was still intact. Kind of 
disappointing. . . . 

But no doubt SOMETHING 
had happened. It was so quiet. 
Not a sound anywhere. Maybe 
I was dead and didn’t know it! 

I unlocked the door and stole 
outside. (Somehow it didn’t seem 
right just to “walk” outside.) 
The moon, a few days past full, 
was just rising. Never saw the 
campus when it looked so serene 
and peaceful. So still! Not a leaf 
stirring. The trees against the 
horizon might have been cut 
out of cardboard. 

After my eyes got dark-adapt- 
ed I could see the whole sky 
was filled with a fine mist, form- 
ing lunar haloes of radii about 
29° and 53°, their inner edges 
red shading off to pale blue. The 
sky had a distinct cherry red tint 
in directions at right angles to 
the moon, as if the light was 
partially polarized. Evidently the 
mist had loaded the atmosphere, 
damping convection currents. 
Jupiter on the meridian was the 
only star easily visible. 

The air, unseasonably warm 
earlier, now was cool and fresh. 


THE RED EUPHORIC BANDS 


141 


odor as if charged with ozone. I 
filled my lungs with it. I couldn’t 
get enough. With every breath I 
Stimulating, too, with an acrid 
felt my worries and anxieties 
slipping away, dissolving into the 
mist. Never had I seen everything 
so clearly before. My problems 
were resolving themselves. (They 
really didn’t amount to much.) 
All the tangled pieces were fall- 
ing into place. . . . 

Dec. 19 

Here it is almost Christmas. 
Examinations are over, thank 
goodness. Time to bring the old 
diary up to date. 

So much has happened since 
the last entry, it’s a good thing 
I don’t have to rely on my mem- 
ory. What follows is a composite 
of excerpts from several tape re- 
cordings, which I have tran- 
scribed into one in the form of 
narration. As I recall, these TV 
interviews occurred in the weeks 
immediately following the trans- 
cendent events of November 7. 

“Dr. Finch, how do people gen- 
erally react when a bright comet 
suddenly looms in their sky?” 
“Well, I would say their re- 
action is generally one of fear 
and dread. As we have just seen, 
people are prone to regard a spec- 
tacular bright comet as an omen 
of evil, a portent of wars and 
other disasters.” 

“Is there any scientific basis 


you know of for this belief?” 
“Absolutely none whatever.” 
“Yet from the dawn of history 
to our supposedly enlightened 
times this dread of comets has 
persisted. Can you account for 
this irrational attitude on the 
part of the public?” 

“Well, yes, I think I can. Let 
me emphasize, however, that I 
am not a psychologist and hence 
cannot speak with authority on 
such matters.” 

“Go right ahead, Dr. Finch. 
I am sure that any light you can 
shed on this question will be re- 
ceived with the greatest inter- 
est.” 

“Well, my feeling is that a 
spectacular comet provides us 
with a convenient object on 
which to project our own fail- 
ings. All of us, I dare say, har- 
bor sins and evil impulses which 
we would like to rid ourselves by 
transferring them to others. But 
this is not easy to do. For other 
people, instead of accepting 
them, are more likely to turn 
around and blame us for their 
sins. Thus as time goes on we 
become filled with a sense of 
guilt and frustration. 

“Along comes this strange ap- 
parition in the sky, this comet. 
What is it? We don’t know. But 
our natural tendency is to look 
upon anything outside our daily 
range of experience with dark 
suspicion. Thus in medieval 


142 


GALAXY 


times the mandrake plant be- 
because of its forked root was 
considered the work of the devil. 
The tomato won slow acceptance 
in the United States; as late as 
1900 many feared to eat toma- 
toes, believing them poisonous. 
Is it surprising that we regard 
this ghostly intruder from outer- 
space with dread and ascribe all 
sorts of evil to it? The comet 
can’t defend itself. It’s the per- 
fect scapegoat!” 

“Then there’s no reason a pri- 
ori for regarding a comet as an 
omen of evil?” 

“Neither evil nor good. Or an 
omen of anything at all, for that 
matter.” 

“But wouldn’t you agree, Dr. 
Finch, that Comet Ikegawa was 
distinctly an influence for good?” 

“No doubt about it. The his- 
tory of the world was changed 
during the period of scarcely one 
hour that the Earth was passing 
through its coma. The gases of 
the coma induced in us an euph- 
oric state of a type hitherto un- 
known in the annals of medicine. 
Thoughts of war and hate dis- 
appeared. They are nothing but 
dim memories now. We are like a 
woman after childbirth who is 
unable to recall the pains she suf- 
fered during labor.” 

“Have they succeded in iden- 
tifying the structure of the mole- 
cule that gave rise to this euphor- 
ic condition?” 


“Well, I understand there’s a 
lot of work being done on that. 
They may get a clue front an- 
alysis of those bands in the red. 
So far there’s nothing been es- 
tablished yet.” 

“Do you have any explanation 
yourself for the presence of those 
red euphoric bands in the spec- 
trum of Comet Ikegawa?” 

“I think that Comet Ikegawa 
was something very special.” 

“In what way, very special?” 

“I am convinced in my own 
mind at least that the close ap- 
proach of Comet Ikegawa was 
no accident. I think it was sent 
here for the very special pur- 
pose of saving us from self- 
destruction. Man is an organism 
of enormous complexity. The de- 
velopment of intelligent life was 
an event of fantastic improbabili- 
ty. The biologists declare it could 
not happen twice. That the 
Earth is the only place in the 
universe where life exists.” 

Dr. Finch paused for a mo- 
ment. Upon resuming he spoke 
slowly, choosing his words with 
the greatest care. 

“I am afraid the biologists 
were wrong. I think it did hap- 
pen twice. I think there is an- 
other world where beings exist 
probably exceeding ourselves in 
intelligence. In some way — 
don’t ask me how — they fore- 
saw years ago that a world war 
was inevitable. And so, lest they 


THE RED EUPHORIC BANDS 


143 


be the only world remaining 
where intelligent life exists, they 
sent this cometlike body across 
space to save us.” 

“But could they from so great 
a distance — ” 

“Not all the way necessarily 
from their world to ours. I sus- 
pect they possess a technique for 
assembling molecules of Euph- 
orium from atoms readily avail- 
able within the solar system. 
Doubtless only atoms of common 
elements were required ... car- 
bon . . . hydrogen . . . oxygen 
and the like. Some such mole- 
cular assemblage technique was 
postulated as early as the 
1960’s.”* 

“Well, Dr. Finch, that’s pret- 
ty tremendous. Can you offer 
any proof?” 

“Not real proof, I’m afraid. 
Certainly not proof that every- 
one would be willing to accept.” 
“And now I see our time is 
almost up. Dr. Finch, is there 
any last message you would like 
to leave with our audience?” 
“Only this. That we owe a 
debt to the inhabitants of a cer- 
tain planet, a debt that we never 
will be able to repay.” 

A summary of my results will 
appear in an early issue of 

*Verhandl. Deut. Physik Ges., Berlin, 
Vol. 71, p. 217, 1963. 


the Astronomical Journal. This 
new orbit of Comet Ikegawa 
1975g is based upon images 
which appear on plates of Finch 
17 taken some ten years ago for 
proper motion. Extending the 
ephemeris back ten years I 
found, as anticipated, a moving 
object whose motion correspond- 
ed in direction and amount with 
that calculated for the comet. 

These pre-discovery positions 
yielded an arc much longer than 
hitherto available, enabling me 
to determine new elements of ex- 
ceptional - accuracy. After allow- 
ing for the perturbations of the 
major planets, it appeared that 
Comet Ikegawa was moving 
neither in an hyperbola nor par- 
abola, but in an orbit definite- 
ly elliptical in character. No- 
tice that both the longitude of 
aphelion and the aphelion dis- 
tance agree closely with the posi- 
tion and distance, respectively, 
of Finch 17. We call attention 
to this circumstance without 
wishing to emphasize it. 

Just opened my end-of-the- 
year letter from the bursar. I 
see they’ve promoted me to full 
professorship now. Also upped 
my honorarium by $1,700. Won- 
der how Wadstrom and Peabody 
made out? Not that it makes any 
difference. . . . 

—PHILIP LATHAM 


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 


1-44 


GALAXY 


GALAXY © non-fact article 



GALACTIC CONSUMER REPORT 

MEMBERSHIP SURVEY 

by JOHN BRUNNER 




Good readers, here are the results 
of our Consumer Testing survey — 
which thoroughly tested all of us! 


( Extract from GOOD BUY, the 
journal of the Consolidated Gal- 
actic Federation of Consumers’ 
Associations, February 2300 
ESY) 

TT'lsewhere in this issue you will 
find the complete results of 
our questionnaire intended to 
discover exactly who (or what) 
are our current members, why 
they joined, whether they are 
satisfied with our service and 
what products you whom we are 
here to serve want us to test 
in the immediate future. Owing 
to circumstances beyond our 
control, some of which are set 
out below in the most temperate 


language of which we are at 
present capable, much of the 
data is primarily of academic 
or historical interest now. But 
we can at least pride ourselves 
on the fact that no similar un- 
dertaking has ever before been 
attempted, even though we could 
not in honesty advise anyone 
else to try it again. 

When we first circulated the 
questionnaire, eight years ago, 
we promised that its findings 
would appear in one of the reg- 
ular issues of this journal. We 
have managed to keep that 
promise. The information is con- 
densed in microdot form as the 
last full stop on the last page 


145 


of the comparative study of high- 
precision microdot decipherers, 
and both the items nominated as 
“Best Buys” will enable you to 
read it, the magnification re- 
quired being only of the or- 
der of x 1,000,000. 

Subscribers to the deluxe edi- 
tion, apart from the two mem- 
bers on Alpheratz IX who with- 
held Cr. 17 from their dues on 
the grounds that they are any- 
way capable of distinguishing in- 
dividual molecules with the nak- 
ed eye, will eventually be sent 
the book version of the report. 
However, we must warn them 
that since it runs to 23 fat vol- 
umes occupying a meter and a 
half of shelf space, under cur- 
rent Galactic mailing regulations 
it can only be shipped by un- 
crewed ion-rocket; consequently 
only members belonging to spe- 
cies of exceptional longevity can 
expect to receive their copies 
personally. The rest will have 
to be satisfied with bequeathing 
them to their grandchildren. 

D oubtless by now you’re ask- 
ing: “How did this delay 
arise?” Well, to start with, the 
level of response exceeded not 
only our wildest expectations but 
also those of the computer we 
hired to assess the likely re- 
turn. It advised us that not more 
than one per million of the mem- 
bership would be bothered to 


fill out such a complex form. 

What we in fact got back was 
more like a 67% response. As, 
relying on the computer’s as- 
sessment, we had done no more 
by way of preparation than rent 
a small room in downtown Bue- 
nos Aires and hire an elderly fe- 
male clerk with a hand-operated 
punch-card analyser, the sud- 
den arrival of 2,619,312,003 ques- 
tionnaires caused a minor tech- 
nical hitch. 

By the way, in a future is- 
sue we propose to conduct a sur- 
vey of commercial computer ad- 
vice services. Meantime, we 
must caution you against em- 
ploying the Buckingham and 
Ketshwayo Service for Honest 
Oracular Pronouncements, which 
our staff is now accustomed to 
referring to as the Bucket Shop. 
They are not, on present evi- 
dence, a Good Buy. 

We are also, incidentally, 
anxious to recruit volunteers to 
help us in a survey of planet- 
side postal services. We feel it 
is high time to establish a Galac- 
tic Postal Convention to assure 
the private correspondence of 
any intelligent organism all 
proper protection in transit and 
reasonable speed of delivery. The 
treatment we have been ac- 
corded by the Earthside author- 
ities beggars belief, and it is high- 
ly probable that some of the 
questionnaires which members 


146 


GALAXY 


on outlying planets went to a 
lot of trouble to complete and 
forward have never reached us. 

For example, we regard it as 
inexcusable that merely because 
the only type of stationery avail- 
able to a citizen of Shalimar 
happens to be fresh water-lily 
leaves and pale green bog-slime 
instead of paper and ink, some 
jumped-up jack-in-office at the 
Galactic Mail Center in Lhasa 
should be allowed to class his en- 
velope as “perishable foodstuffs 
improperly packaged” and de- 
cline responsibility for its de- 
livery. 

Furthermore, it’s mere com- 
mon civility on Toothanclaw to 
wrap any missive to a person one 
wishes to flatter or defer to in 
the hide of one’s latest kill. The 
more ambitious the kill (and 
there are creatures on that plan- 
et none of our staff would care 
to handle without battle armor 
and a lase-gun!), the greater the 
respect which the writer express- 
es towards the recipient. 

One of our members there, ob- 
viously extremely appreciative of 
the services of ConGalFed Con- 
Ass, chose to employ the hide of 
a mugglebuck in which to return 
his questionnaire. That this hide 
continues to secrete pure hydro- 
fluoric acid for nine years after 
being flayed, we submit, is as 
nothing beside the basic require- 
ment that it should be delivered 
MEMBERSHIP SURVEY 


to the address inscribed on the 
outside. The fact that muggle- 
buck skin remains dangerous to 
handle after the animal is killed 
is essentially a symbolic equiv- 
alent of the customary saluta- 
tion “Your humble and obedient 
servant,” but no postal authority 
would decline to accept mail be- 
cause it included that phrase! 

It was only by chance that we 
received the questionnaire sent us 
by a member on Caligula, more- 
over. She had gone to enormous 
trouble to address her pack- 
age, because the yoggoth worms 
there customarily employed for 
the purpose have been selective- 
ly bred to adopt the forms of the 
Devanagari alphabet rather than 
the Terrestrial Roman system; 
it must have required several 
months of patient labor to train 
them to display an Earthside 
address-code. 

All this nearly went for noth- 
ing when the Health Depart- 
ment sterilized the worms with 
insecticide — whereupon, of 
course, they reverted to the post- 
mortem straight position. Had 
it not been for an observant staff- 
member who was visiting the 
post office on another errand al- 
together, that questionnaire 
would doubtless have gone into 
the Dead Letter file. 

T>ut the last straw was the 
authorities’ refusal to allow 

147 


one of our members on Hydatia 
to answer our questionnaire at 
all — a flagrant example of 
bureaucratic censorship at its 
worst. Much as we dislike ex- 
pending our funds on litigation, 
we felt that in this case there 
was an important point of prin- 
ciple at stake and have instituted 
proceedings in the cause of in- 
terplanetary tolerance. 

Hydations do possess a writ- 
ten language, but they reserve it 
entirely for public inscriptions, 
advertising puffs and other works 
of fiction. The only form of pri- 
vate communication expressed in 
writing is an invitation to a duel 
to the death, so great an insult 
is it not to convey your message 
in person. 

Wishing to reply to our ques- 
tionnaire, our member there 
adopted the normal course and 
put himself into suspended ani- 
mation after attaching address 
labels and sufficient postage to 
his left ear. On arrival at our 
office, he would have delivered 
the information he -had imprinted 
on his mind, and relapsed into 
his comatose state until restored 
to his home swamp. 

However, despite being proper- 
ly stamped for both the outward 
and return journeys, our member ' 
was forbidden admission to Earth 
— first by the Customs and Ex- 
cise, who proposed to classify 
him as a museum exhibit sub- 

148 


ject to arbitrary valuation and 
500% duty; then, when we’d 
sorted that out, by the Immigra- 
tion Service, who argued that 
he lacked a visa. 

Without being delivered, of 
course, the poor fellow will nev- 
er wake up from his trance, 
so merely shipping him home 
doesn’t solve the problem. A test 
case is now in progress before the 
Appellate Tribunal of the Pan- 
Galactic Court, and we will keep 
you apprised of developments. 

Meantime, if anyone can offer 
us storage space for one inert 
male Hydatian approx. 37 meters 
by 11 by 4, capable of being 
maintained at a pressure of 325 
kg./sk. cm. at -120° C., we shall 
be obliged. At present we are 
having to pay rent on a bonded 
warehouse at a rate which prom- 
ises that we shall go bankrupt 
around the second week of Au- 
gust. 

AX7e had hoped that one of the 

’ * things this questionnaire 
would enable us to do would be 
to revolutionize our method of 
selecting products to be tested 
by insuring that the items we 
chose were all goods that the 
members were eager to know 
about. 

We have no wish to appear un- 
appreciative of all the trouble 
you went to, but the sad truth 
is that after processing, cata- 


GALAXY 


loguing and analyzing the vari- 
ous products suggested by a sub- 
stantial number of our members 
(arbitrarily, one million or more) 
we have decided to keep right 
on the way we were going be- 
fore. 

You see, the largest single 
batch of requests for tests on 
a single type of product which 
we received came from Triske- 
lion. We had 8,623,517 of them. 
(Curiously enough, this was ex- 
actly the book-strength of the 
Hawk party in the Archduchy of 
Axenheim at the time our ques- 
tionnaires arrived there.) 

But we simply haven’t got the 
facilities to evaluate the com- 
parative merits of the various 
brands of planet-busting bomb 
at present on the market! We 
feel that if the Hawk party 
wish to substantiate their elec- 
tion slogan, “More Cash for a 
Credit!”, they should institute 
their own testing program, pre- 
ferably well away from Galactic 
trade routes. 

We moreover feel very strong- 
ly that the two-million-odd in- 
quirers from Phagia who asked 
us to test them for edibility ought 
to set up their own planetary 
chapter of ConGalFedConAss. 
We cannot possibly hope to de- 
termine which of them will prove 
tastiest at his or her funeral 
feast — a matter of fierce rivalry 
among that species, in case you 


didn’t know. Our entire perman- 
ent staff is human, and sampling 
creatures who live in an atmo- 
sphere of hydrogen sulphide at 
the boiling point of water would 
give us acute food-poisoning, 
thus hopelessly biasing the re- 
sults. 

By the way, we have exercised 
our discretionary right to term- 
inate membership in the case of 
the young lady from Hippoda- 
mia who asked us to test the 
thirty-seven men who were suing 
for her hand in marriage. Fri- 
volity of this kind is not in keep- 
ing with the high ideals of our 
organization. And we would 
have done the same to the mem- 
ber on Gyges who complained 
that his voyeur suit had gone 
wrong, and because it was stuck 
at the invisible setting he 
couldn’t read the brand name on 
the label — would we test all 
makes on the market and tell 
him which kind has the switch 
under the left arm? But during 
his enforced imperceptibility he 
was run down by a rocket-sled. 
De mortuis. . . . 

T T aving had this rather gloomy 

-*■ picture of the outcome of our 
survey painted for you, you may 
now be asking, “Was there any 
point in mounting it, anyway?” 

We are delighted to say that 
the answer is a resounding yes! 

If it did nothing else, the sur- 


MEMBERSHIP SURVEY 


149 


vey showed us that we have been 
unforgivably neglectful of the 
true requirements of a very large 
proportion of our subscribers. We 
can only apologize for this and 
plead that one of the lessons we 
hoped to derive from the sur- 
vey was to discover the nature 
of ©ur median member. 

Obviously, our average sub- 
scriber would be a nonsensical 
compound creature — to be ex- 
act, one-and-two-thirds of a mar- 
ried female with an annual in- 
come of 2800 credits, a batch of 
hoopoe eggs and seven-eighths of 
a hectare of reed matting, chief- 
ly interested in the Zagnabovian 
question, potlatch, and the super- 
ior merits of strychnine over 
prussic acid as a seasoning for 
beef Bourguignon. 

Our statisticians did, however, 
advise us that we could hope 
to determine a typical person 
who corresponded to the largest 
possible number of the member- 
ship. Somewhat to our surprise, 
when we punched the computer 
for this information, we discov- 
ered that our median was a citi- 
zen of Luxor, Lonestar or El- 
dorado, with an income of Cr. 
27,000,000, taking the deluxe 
calf -bound vellum edition of this 
journal with handtooled gilt let- 
tering on the spine and built-in 
pentasensory commentator — in 
quintuplicate or sextuplicate so 
that there would be a copy of 


each month’s issue for every 
member of the family, often in- 
cluding the dog! Very nearly one 
in three of the entire member- 
ship, reported the computer, 
fitted this general description. 

Frankly, we were astounded. 
The level of affluence on those 
planets is so high that palladium- 
plated spaceboats are marketed 
by Neiman - Marcus - Harrods- 
Wojcecenski not in pairs but in 
groups of three labelled His, Hers 
and Its, so that the odd one can 
be thrown in the garbage on de- 
livery. 

Why, we asked ourselves, 
should GOOD BUY — dedicated 
to helping people secure maxi- 
mum return for minimum out- 
lay — be so popular on worlds 
where it doesn’t make any dif- 
ference at all whether what peo- 
ple buy is fit for use or not? 
(Except insofar as there is a 
risk of overloading garbage clear- 
ance facilities — but even that 
didn’t seem especially significant. 
Most people there own robotic 
disposers which automatically 
shunt refuse into the local sun.) 

And then we received a note, 
along with a copy of our ques- 
tionnaire picked out in individual 
diamonds on inch-thick lead 
plates and expressed to us by 
Class Triple A* galactic mail 
(which costs Cr. 3000 per gram), 
from which we discovered the 
explanation. 


150 


GALAXY 


\\T e have had to edit the let- 
* ’ ter slightly, but the gist of 
it was as follows. 

“Why the (deleted) don’t you 
(deleted) Earthside (deleted) 
get your heads out of that heap 
of (deleted) and catch on to 
what (deleted) like us really 
want? If my three-year-old 
daughter hadn’t started to try 
and eat her copy of your last 
issue, it would have gone straight 
in the chute as it usually does, 
and I wouldn’t have seen your 
questionnaire! 

“I don’t want to be told how 
to economize! I subscribe to your 
publication purely because I can 
always do with having expensive 
things shipped to me from distant 
worlds like Earth. (By the way, 
do you know where I could or- 
der a live blue whale not less 
than twenty meters long? Or a 
pair of Indian elephants would 
do, at a pinch.) 

“Sorry. I’m being too hard on 
you. At least you take the trouble 
to quote exhorbitant terms. 

“Look, the problem here is this. 
According to our tax laws, every 
Midsummer Day the government 
takes away all the money you 
haven’t managed to spend since 
last time. It’s a great way of 
minimizing bureaucratic inter- 
ference with the daily lives of our 
citizens, not having sales tax 
and income taxes and all that 
other (deleted). But think what 


happens if we don’t spend 
enough! 

“Lord, it’s hard to find things 
one can buy as it is. If the gov- 
ernment, armed with all the sur- 
plus revenue it collects from 
the citizens as I explained be- 
fore, were to start bidding 
against private individuals, there 
wouldn’t be anything left for us 
at all! 

“Sure, charity donations are 
tax-deductible — in theory. But 
the last planetary census showed 
that the lowest income anyone 
had filed was four and a half 
million credits, and that wasn’t 
even for a human being, but a 
canary! How the blazes do you 
operate a charity under those 
conditions? 

“And gifts are tax-deductible, 
too. You find me someone who’s 
willing to take a present from me, 
though! If anybody offered to 
give me a few million credits, I’d 
run. I don’t think I’d even stop 
to get in a rocket, in spite of hav- 
ing a fleet of thirty of them. (Or 
possibly forty — I think I or- 
dered some more the other day.) 

“I’m going out of my skull, 
believe me! Right now I have 
the builders in — they’re doing 
over the east wing in neo-rococo. 
But it’s the third time I’ve had 
to rebuild the house this finan- 
cial year, and I kind of liked 
the Moorish style we had before 
the pseudobrutalist installed last 


MEMBERSHIP SURVEY 


151 


month. Only I couldn’t afford to 
keep on with it! As a result, 
here I am with rain streaming in 
through the cracked marble ceil- 
ing, trying to stop my daughter 
from breaking her neck on the 
floor of the sub-basement (six- 
ty meters deep and due to be 
enlarged tomorrow) while they 
stick up all kinds of hideous gold 
and red fretwork in place of the 
black and white bricks they’re 
scrapping. I have to do a lot 
of travelling — it’s a good way of 
getting rid of extra credits - — 
but once in a while I’d like to 
recognize my home when I come 
back to it! 

“To cap the lot, I see on the 
morning news where the unions 
are threatening to strike for low- 
er pay, and this blasted socialist 
government of ours always as- 
sesses tax-deductions at the cur- 
rent union scale. If they stay on 
strike until the tax year ends, 
moreover, I can’t legally pay 
them anything! Help! HELP! ! ! 

Yours faithfully (signed) : 

Getty C. Midas XXXIII” 


Tn face of a heartfelt cry like 
that, what decent being could 
refrain from coming to the res- 
cue? As an interim measure we 
have quadrupled the subscrip- 
tion rates for the deluxe edition, 
and expressions of gratitude are 
already coming in. But we don’t 
propose to stop there. Plans are 
afoot to produce an ultra-de-luxe 
edition on hygroscopic paper 
with soluble ink, guaranteed to 
become illegible within fifteen 
minutes of leaving the presses, 
so that indefinite repeat orders 
can be filed with not prospect of 
ever actually receiving a legible 
copy. And as of next month we 
shall start to issue a special 
supplement to GOOD BUY, en- 
titled EXTRAVAGANZA, print- 
ed in thirty-six-point type on 
platinum sheets, and dedicated 
to the new, ringing, clarian call 
of our slogan: “The more you 
spend, the less you get!” 

Getty C. Midas, do not de- 
spair; The Consolidated Galactic 
Federation of Consumer’s Asso- 
ciations is on your side! 

—JOHN BRUNNER 


SCIENCE FSCTIOI FROM THE PLANET EARTH! 

Stories from all the world over — 

ITALY GERMANY FRANCE 

THE SOVIET ONION ENGLAND 

Plus articles, columns and a feature report on the 1967 
International Science Fiction Film Festival by Frederik Pohl. 

INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE FICTION 


152 


GALAXY 



by LARRY NIVEN 


Illustrated by GAUGHAN 

Pity the physically deprived. 

How nice it is to help them 
— and how very profitable! 


I 

lire flew on skycycles over a 
Y Y red desert, under the soft 
red sun of Down. I let Jilson stay 
ahead. He was my guide, and I 
hadn’t been flying a skycycle 
long. I’m a flatlander. I had spent 
most of my life in the cities of 
Earth, where any flying vehicle 
is illegal unless fully automated. 

I liked flying. I wasn’t good at 
it yet, but there was plenty of 
room for mistakes with the desert 
so far below. 


“There,” said Jilson, pointing. 

“Where?” 

“Down there. Follow me.” His 
skycycle swung easily to the left 
and began to slow and drop. I 
followed more clumsily, overcor- 
recting and dropping behind. 
Eventually I spotted something. 

“That little cone?” 

“That’s it.” 

From up here the desert looked 
lifeless. It wasn’t, any more than 
the deserts of most inhabited 
worlds are lifeless. Down there, 
invisible at this height, were 


153 


spiky dry plants with water stor- 
ed in their cores; flowers which 
bloomed after a rain and left 
their seeds to wait a year or ten 
years for the next rainfall; in- 
sect-things with four legs, un- 
jointed; skinny, warm-blooded 
quadrupeds from the size of a 
fox on down, who were always 
hungry. 

There was a five-foot hairy 
cone with a bald, rounded top. 
Only its shadow made it visible 
as we dropped toward it. Its lank 
hair was the exact color of the 
reddish sand. 

We landed next to it and got 
off. 

I was beginning to think I’d 
been played for a fool. The thing 
didn’t look like an animal. It 
looked like a big cactus. Some- 
times a cactus had hair just like 
that. 

“We’re behind it,” said Jilson. 
He was dark and massive and 
taciturn. On Down there was no 
such animal as the professional 
guide. I’d talked Jilson into tak- 
ing me out into the desert, for a 
fair fee, but it hadn’t bought his 
friendship. I think he was trying 
to make that clear. “Come 
around in front,” he said. 

We circled the hairy cone, and 
I started to laugh. 

The Grog showed just five fea- 
tures. 

Where it touched flat rock, the 
base of the cone was some four 


feet across. Long, straight hair 
brushed the rock like a floor- 
length skirt. A few inches up, two 
small, widely separated paws 
poked through the curtain of 
hair. They were the size and 
shape of a Great Dane’s fore- 
paws, but naked and pink. A 
yard higher two more paws pok- 
ed through, but on these the toes 
were extended to curving, use- 
less fingers. Finally, above the 
forepaws was a yard-long lipless 
gash of a mouth, half-hidden by 
hair, curved very slightly upward 
at the corners. No eyes. The cone 
looked like some stone-age carved 
idol, or like a cruel cartoon of a 
feudal monk. 

Jilson waited patiently for me 
to stop laughing. “It’s funny,” he 
admitted, with reluctance. “But 
it’s intelligent. There’s a brain 
under that bald top, bigger than 
yours and mine combined.” 

“It’s never tried to communi- 
cate with you?” 

“Not with me nor with anyone 
else.” 

“Does it make tools?” 

“With what? Look at its 
hands!” He regarded me with 
amusement. “This is what you 
wanted to see, isn’t it?” 

“Yes. I came a long way for 
nothing.” 

“Anyway, now you’ve seen it.” 
I laughed again. Eyeless, mo- 
tionless, my potential customer 
sat like a fat lap dog in begging 


154 


GALAXY 


position. “Come on,” I said, “let’s 
go back.” 

II 

\ fool’s errand. I’d spent two 
weeks in hyperspace to get 
here. The fare would come out of 
business expenses, but ultimately 
I’d pay for it; I was going to own 
the business one day. 

Jilson took his check without 
comment, folded it twice and 
stuck it in his lighter pocket. He 
said, “Buy you a drink?” 

“Sure.” 

We left our rented skycycles 
at the Downtown city limits and 
boarded a pedwalk. Jilson led the 
way from crossing to crossing un- 
til we were sliding past a great 
silver cube with a wriggling blue 
sign: Cziller’s House of Irish Cof- 
fee. Inside, the place was still a 
cube, a one-story building forty 
meters high. Padded horse-shoe- 
shaped sofas covered the entire 
floor, so close you could hardly 
squeeze between them, each with 
its little disk of a table nestling in 
the center. From the floor a tin- 
sel abstraction rose like a great 
tree, spreading its wide glittering 
arms protectively over the cus- 
tomers, rising forty meters to 
touch the ceiling. The bartend- 
ing machinery was halfway up 
the tree. 

“Interesting place,” said Jilson, 
“These booths were built to 


float.” He waited for me to ex- 
press surprise. When I didn’t he 
went on : “It didn’t work out. 
Lovely idea though. The chairs 
would swoop through the air, and 
if the people at two tables want- 
ed to meet they’d slide their 
booths together and lock them 
magnetically.” 

“Sounds like fun.” 

“It was fun. The guy who 
thought it up must have for- 
got that people come to a bar to 
get drunk. They’d crash the 
booths together like bumper 
cars. They’d go as high as they 
could and then pour out their 
drinks. The people underneath 
didn’t like that, and maybe 
there’d be a fight. I remember 
seeing a guy get thrown out of 
a booth. He’d have been dead if 
that tinsel centerpiece hadn’t 
caught him. I hear another guy 
did die. He missed the branches.” 

“So they grounded the 
booths?” 

“No. First they tried to make 
the course automatic. But you 
could still pour drinks on the 
people below, and there was 
more skill in it. It got to be a 
game. Then one night some idiot 
figured out how to short the 
autopilot. But he forgot the man- 
ual controls had been discon- 
nected. His booth landed on an- 
other and injured three im- 
portant people. Then they 
grounded the booths.” 


HANDICAP 


155 


A floating tray served us two 
chilled glasses and a bottle 
of Blue Fire 2728. The bar was 
two-thirds empty, this early, land 
quiet. When the freeze-distilled 
wine was half gone I explained 
why they call Blue Fire the 
Cras'hlander’s Peacemaker: the 
shape of the flexible plastic bot- 
tle, narrow-necked with a flar- 
ing mouth, plus the weight of 
the fluid inside, makes it a dan- 
dy bludgeon. 

Jilson was turning almost gar- 
rulous, now that I was no longer 
his employer. I was talking a 
lot, too. Not that I felt like it. 
It was just — well, hell, here I 
was, light-years from Earth and 
business and the good people I 
knew, way out at the edge of 
human space. On Down — a for- 
mer kzinti world, mostly empty, 
with a few scattered dots of civil- 
ization and a few great scars of 
old war, a world where the farm- 
ers had to use ultraviolet lamps 
to grow crops because of that 
red dwarf sun. Here I was. I 
was going to enjoy it. 

I was enjoying it. Jilson was 
good company, and the Blue Fire 
didn’t hurt at all. We ordered 
another bottle. The noise level 
rose as cocktail hour drew near. 

“Something I’ve been wonder- 
ing,” said Jilson. “Mind if we 
talk business?” 

“No. Whose business?” 
“Yours.” 


“Not at all. Why do you even 
ask?” 

“It’s traditional, to us. Some 
people don’t like giving away 
their tricks of the trade. Others 
like to forget work completely 
after hour's.” 

“That makes sense. What’s the 
question?” 

“Why do you pronounce Han- 
dicapped with a capital H?” 
“Oh. Well, if I said it with a 
small h you’d think I meant 
humans, wouldn’t you? Potential 
paranoids, albino crashlanders, 
boosterspice allergies, people with 
missing limbs and resistance to 
transplants — handicapped like 
that.” 

“Yah.” 

“Whereas what I deal with is 
sentient beings who evolved with 
minds but with nothing that 
would serve as hands.” 

“Q-oh. Like dolphins?” 

“Right. Are there dolphins on 
Down?” 

“Hell, yes. What else would 
run our fishing industry?” 

“You know those things you 
pay them off in? They look like 
a squirt- jet motorboat motor with 
two padded rnetal hands attach- 
ed.” 

“The Dolphin’s Hands. Sure. 
We sell ’em other stuff, tools 
and sonic things to move fish 
around, but Dolphin’s Hands are 
what they mainly need.” 

“I make them.” 


156 


GALAXY 


J ilson’s eyes jerked up. Then 
* . . I could feel him with- 
drawing, backing off as he real- 
ized that the man across from 
him could probably buy Down. 
Damn! But the best I could do 
now was ignore the fact. 

“I should have said my fath- 
er’s company makes them. One 
day I’ll direct Garvey Limited, 
but my great grandfather will 
have to die first. I doubt he ever 
will.” 

Jilson smiled, with little strain. 
“I know people like that.” 

“Yah. Some people seem to 
dry out as they get older. They 
get dryer and tougher instead of 
getting fat, until you think they’ll 
never change again, and they 
seem to get more and more ener- 
getic, like there’s a thermonuclear 
source inside them. Gee-Squared 
is like that. A great old man. I 
don’t see enough of him.” 

“You sound proud of him. 
Why does he have to die?” 
“It’s like a custom. Dad’s run- 
ning the company now. If he gets 
in trouble he can go to his father, 
who ran the company before him. 
If Gee -Prime can’t handle it they 
both go to Gee-Squared.” 
“Funny names.” 

“Not to me. That’s like a tra- 
dition too.” 

“Sorry. What are you doing 
on Down?” 

“We don’t deal only with dol- 
phins.” The Blue Fire made me 


want to lecture. “Look, Jilson. 
We know of three sentient be- 
ings without hands. Right?” 
“More than that. Puppeteers 
us their mouths. Outsiders — - ” 
“But they build their own tools, 
dammit. I’m talking about beasts 
who can’t even crack themselves 
a fist-ax, or hold a lighter. Dol- 
phins, bandersnatchi . . . and 
that thing we saw today.” 
“The Grog. Well?” 

“Well, don’t you see that 
there must be Handicapped spe- 
cies all over the galaxy? Minds 
but no hands. I tell you, Jilson, it 
gives me the shivers. For as long 
as we expand to other stars we’re 
going to meet more and more 
handless, toolless, helpless civili- 
zations. Sometimes we won’t 
even recognize them. What are 
we going to do about them?” 
“Build Dolphin’s Hands for 
them.” 

“Well, yes, but we can’t just 
give them away. Once one spe- 
cies start depending on another, 
they become parasites.” 

“How about bandersnatchi? 
Do you build hands for bander- 
snatchi?” 

“Yes. Lots bigger, of course.” 
A bandersnatchi is twice the size 
of a brontosaur. Its skeleton is 
flexible, but has no joints; the 
only breaks in its smooth white 
skin are the tufts of sensory 
bristles on either side of its tap- 
ering blank head. It moves on 


HANDICAP 


157 


a rippling belly foot. They live 
in the lowlands of Jinx, brows- 
ing off the gray yeast along the 
shorelines. You’d think they were 
the most helpless things in known 
space . . . until you saw one 
bearing down on you like a 
charging mountain. Once I saw 
an ancient armored car crushed 
flat across a lowlands rock, 
straddled by the broken bones 
of the beast that ran it down. 

“Okay. How do they pay for 
their machines?” 

“Hunting privileges. Hunting 
them.” 

'g'ilson looked horrified. “I don’t 
believe you.” 

“I hardly believed it myself. 
But it’s true.” I hunched for- 
ward across the tiny table. 
“Here’s how it works. The band- 
ersnatchi have to control their 
population; there’s only so much 
shoreline to feed on in the low- 
lands. They also have to control 
boredom. Can you imagine how 
bored they must have been be- 
fore men came to Jinx? So what 
they’ve done is, they’ve made 
a treaty with the Jinx govern- 
ment. Now, say a man wants a 
bandersnatch skeleton; he’s go- 
ing to build a trophy room un- 
der it. He goes to the Jinx gov- 
ernment and gets a license. The 
license tells him what equip- 
ment he can take down to the 
lowlands, which is inhabited only 


by bandersnatchi, because the at- 
mospheric pressure is enough to 
crush a man’s lungs and the tem- 
perature is enough to cook him. 
If he gets caught taking extra 
weapons he goes to prison for a 
long time. 

“Maybe he makes it back with 
a body, maybe he doesn’t come 
back. His equipment gives him 
odds of about sixty-forty. But 
either way, the bandersnatchi get 
eighty per cent of the license 
fee, which is a thousand stars 
flat. With that, they buy things.” 

“Like Hands.” 

“Right. Oh, one more thing. 
A dolphin can control his Hands 
with his tongue, but a bander- 
snatchi can’t. We have to build 
the control setup directly into 
the nerves, by surgery. It’s not 
difficult. 

Jilson shook his head and dial- 
ed for another bottle. 

“They do other things,” I said. 
“The Institute of Knowledge has 
instruments in the lowlands. Lab- 
oratories and such. There are 
things the Institute wants to 
know about what happens under 
lowland pressure and tempera- 
tures. The bandersnatchi run all 
the experiments, using the 
Hands.” 

“So you came here for a new 
market.” 

“I was told there was a new 
sentient life form on Down, one 
that doesn’t use tools.” 


158 


GALAXY 


“You’ve changed your minds?” 
“Just about. Jilson, what 
makes you think they’re senti- 
ent?” 

“The brains. They’re huge.” 
“Nothing else?” 

“No.” 

“Their brains might not vtork 
like ours. The nerve cells might 
be different.” 

“Look, we’re about to get tech- 
nical. Let’s drop it for tonight.” 
And with that, Jilson pushed the 
bottles and glasses to one side 
and stood up on the table. He 
peered around Cziller’s House of 
Irish Coffee, swinging his head in 
a slow arc. “Hah. Garvey, I’ve 
spotted a cousin and one of her 
friends. Let’s join ’em. It’s al- 
most dinnertime.” 

I thought we’d be taking them 
to dinner. Not at all. Sharon 
and Lois built our dinner, hand- 
made, starting with raw mater- 
ials we picked up in a special 
store. Seeing raw food for the 
first time, practically in the state 
in which it had emerged from 
the ground or been cut from a 
dead beast, made me a little 
queasy. I hope I didn’t show it. 
But dinner tasted fine. 

After dinner and some polite 
drinking and talk, back to the 
hotel. I went to sleep planning 
to hop a ship the next morning. 

I woke in total darkness 
around oh four hundred, staring 


at the invisible ceiling and see- 
ing a round-topped cone with 
reddish lank hair and a faintly; 
smiling mouth. Smiling at me in 
gentle derision. The cone had 
secrets. I’d come that close to 
guessing one of those secrets this 
afternoon; I’d seen something 
without noticing it ... . 

Don’t ask me how I knew. 
With a crystalline certainty 
which I could not doubt, I knew. 

But I couldn’t remember what 
I’d seen. 

I got up and dialed the kitchen 
for some hot chocolate and a 
tuna sandwich. 

Why should they be intelli- 
gent? Why would sedentary 
cones evolve a brain? 

I wondered how they repro- 
duced. Not bisexually; they 
couldn’t get to each other. Un- 
less — but of course there must 
be a motile stage. Those left- 
over paws .... 

What would they eat? They 
couldn’t find food; they’d have 
to wait for it to come to them, 
like any sessile animal: clams, 
sea anemones, or the Gummid- 
gy “orchid” I keep in my living 
room so I can shock hell out of 
guests. 

They had a brain. Why? What 
did they do with it, sit and 
think about all they were miss- 
ing? 

... I need data. Tomorrow 
I’d contact Jilson. 


HANDICAP 


159 


Ill 


' A t eleven the next morning we 
were in the Downtown Zoo. 
Behind a repulsor field some- 
thing snapped and snarled at us: 
something like an idiot god’s at- 
tempt to make a hairy bulldog. 
The animal had no nose, and 
its mouth was a flat lipless slit 
hiding two serrated horseshoe- 
shaped cutting surfaces. Its long 
coarse hair was the color of sand 
lit by red sunlight. The fore- 
paws had four long spreading 
toes, so that they looked like 
chicken feet. 

“I recognize those feet.” 
“Yah,” said jilson. “It’s a 
young Grog. In this stage they 



160 


GALAXY 



mate. Then the female finds a 
rock and settles down. When 
she’s big enough she starts hav- 
ing children. That’s the theory, 
anyway. They won’t do it in 
captivity.” 

“What about the males?” 

“In the next cage.” 

The males, two of them, were 
the size of chihauhaus, with 
about the same temperament. 
But they had the serrated horse- 
shoe teeth and the coarse red- 
dish hair. 

“Jilson, if they’re intelligent, 
why are they in cages?” 

“If you think that’s bad, wait’ll 
you see the lab. Look, Garvey, 
what you’ve got to keep in mind 
is that nobody’s proven they’re 


intelligent. Until somebody does, 
they’re experimental animals.” 
They have an odd, almost 
pleasant odor, faint enough so 
that you stopped noticing it in 
,i two or three seconds. I peered in 
t the snapping motile-stage fe- 
male. “What happens then? Does 
everyone suddenly get ashamed 
of themselves?” 

“I doubt it. Do you happen 
to know what Lilly and his as- 
sociates did to dolphins while 
trying to prove they were intelli- 
gent?” 

“Brain probes and imprison- 
ment. But that was a long time 
ago.” 

“Lilly was trying to prove 
dolphins were intelligent, but he 
treated them like experimental 
animals. Why not? It makes 
sense. If he’s right, he’s done 
the species a service. If he’s 
wrong, he’s only wasted time 
on animals. And it gave the 
dolphins a hell of an incentive 
to prove he was right.” 

II7e reached the lab shortly 
* ' after noon. It was the Lab- 
oratory for Xenobiological Re- 
search, a rectangular building be- 
yond the outskirts of the city, 
surrounded by brown fields 
marked with rectangular arrays 
of ultraviolet lamps on tall poles. 
In the distance we could see the 
Ho River, with flocks of water 
skiers skimming across its mud- 


HANDICAP 


161 


dy surface behind puller units. 

A Dr. EuIIer showed us 
through the lab. He was an ob- 
vious crashlander: a towering al- 
bino* seven feet tall, with a 
slender torso and tapering, al- 
most skeletal limbs. “You’re in- 
terested in the Grogs? I don’t 
blame you. They’re very difficult 
to study you know. Their be- 
havior tells nothing. They sit. 
When something comes by they 
eat. And they bear young.” 

He had several pre-sessile 
cones, the bulldog-sized quad- 
rupeds, in cages. There was an- 
other cage containing two of the 
little males. They didn’t bark 
at him, and he treated them with 
tenderness and something like 
love. It seemed to me that he 
was a happy man. I could sym- 
pathize with him. Down must 
look like paradise to an albino 
from We Made It. You can walk 
around outside all year, the soil 
grows things, and you don’t need 
tannin pills under the red sun. 

“They learn fast,” he said 
earnestly. “That is, they do well 
in mazes. But they certainly 
aren’t intelligent. About as intelli- 
gent as a dog. They grow fast, 
and they eat horrendously. Look 
at this one.” He picked up a very 
fat, round-bottomed female. “In 
a few days she’ll be looking for 
a place to anchor.” 

“What will you do then? Turn 
her loose?” 


“We’re going to raise her just 
outside the lab. We’ve picked her 
a good anchor rock and built a 
cage around it. She’ll go into the 
cage until she changes form, and 
then we remove the cage. We’ve 
tried this before,” he added, “but 
it hasn’t worked out. They die. 
They won’t eat, even when we 
offer them live meat.” 

“What makes you think this 
one will live?” 

“We have to keep trying. Per- 
haps we’ll find out what we’re 
doing wrong.” 

“Has a Grog ever attacked a 
human being?” 

“To the best of my knowledge, 
never.” 

To me, that was as good an 
answer as No. Because I was try- 
ing to find out if they were in- 
telligent. 

Consider the days when it was 
first suspected that the cetaceans 
were Earth’s second sentient or- 
der of life. It was known, then, 
that dolphins had many times 
helped swimmers out of difficulty 
— and that no dolphin had ever 
been known to attack a human 
being. Well, what difference did 
it make whether they had not at- 
tacked humans, or whether they 
had done so only when there was 
no risk of being caught at it? 
Either statement was proof of in- 
telligence. 

“Of course, a man may simply 
be too big for a Grog to eat. 


162 


GALAXY 


Look at this,” said Dr. Fuller, 
turning on a microscope screen. 
The screen showed a section of a 
nerve cell. “From a Grog’s brain. 
We’ve done some work on the 
Grog’s nervous system. The 
nerves transmit impulses more 
slowly than human nerves, but 
not much more. We’ve found that 
a strongly stimulated nerve can 
fire off the nerve next to it, just 
as in terrestrial chcrdates.” 

“Are the cones intelligent, in 
your opinion?” 

Dr. Fuller didn’t know. He 
took a long time saying it, but 
that’s what it boiled down to. It 
distressed him; his ears turned 
red beneath the transparent skin. 
He wanted to know. Perhaps he 
felt he had a right to know. 

“Then tell me this. Is there any 
evolutionary reason for them to 
have developed intelligence?” 
“That’s a much better ques- 
tion.” But he hesitated over the 
answer. “I’ll tell you this. There 
is a terrestrial marine animal 
which starts life as a free-swim- 
ming worm with a notochord. It 
later settles down as a sessile 
animal, and it gives up the noto- 
chord at the same time.” 

“Amazing! What’s a noto- 
chord?” 

He laughed. “Like your spinal 
cord. A notochord is a rope of 
nervous connection which branch- 
es into the trunk nerves of the 
body. More primitive forms have 


sensory connections, but arrang- 
ed without order. More advanced 
forms wrap a spine around the 
notochord and become verte- 
brates.” 

“And this beast gives up its 
notochord.” 

“Yes. It’s retrograde develop- 
ment.” 

“But the Grogs are different.” 
“That’s right. They don’t de- 
velop their large brains until after 
they settle down. And, no, I can’t 
imagine an evolutionary reason. 
They shouldn’t need a brain. 
They shouldn’t have a brain. All 
they do in life is sit and wait for 
morsels of food to hop by.” 

“You speak almost poetically 
when you turn your mind to it.” 
“Thank you. I think. Mr. Gar- 
vey, will you come this way? You 
too, Jil. I want to show you a 
Grog central nervous system. 
Then you’ll be as confused as I 
am.” 

f | "he brain was big, as advertis- 
A ed, and ' globular, and a 
strange color — almost the gray 
of human gray matter, but with 
a yellow tinge. It might have 
been the preservative. The hind- 
brain was almost unnoticeable, 
and the spinal cord was a limp 
white string, uselessly thin, taper- 
ing almost to a thread before it 
ended in a multiple branching. 
What could that monstrous brain 
control before with practically no 


HANDICAP 


163 


spinal cord to carry its messages? 

“I gather most of the nerves 
to the body don’t go through the 
spinal cord.” 

“I believe you’re wrong, Mr. 
(Garvey. I’ve tried without suc- 
cess to find supplementary 
nerves.” He was smiling slightly. 
Now I had a piece of the prob- 
lem. We could both stay awake 
nights. 

“Is the nervous material any 
different from the motile form’s 
brain?” 

“No. The motile form has a 
smaller brain and a thicker spinal 
cord. As I said, its intelligence is 
about that of a dog. Its brain is 
somewhat larger, which is to be 
expected when you consider the 
slower rate of propagation of the 
nerve impulse.” 

“Right. Does it help you to 
know that you’ve ruined my 
day?” 

“It does, yes.” He smiled down 
at me. We were friends. He was 
flattered to know that I under- 
stood what he was talking about. 
Otherwise I wouldn’t have looked 
so puzzled. 

The big soft sun was halfway 
down the sky when we got out. 
We stopped to look at the anchor 
pen Dr. Fuller had set up outside. 
One big flat rock with sand heap- 
ed around it, all enclosed in a 
wide fence with a gate. A smaller 
pen against the fence housed a 
colony of white rabbits. 


“One last question, Doctor. 
How do they eat? They can’t just 
sit and wait for the food to pop 
into their mouths.” 

“No, they have a very long, 
slender tongue. I wish I could 
see it in use sometime. They 
won’t eat in captivity; they won’t 
eat when a human being is any- 
where near.” 

We said our good-byes and 
took our skycycles up. 

“It’s only fifteen ten,” said Jil- 
son. “Do you want another look 
at a wild Grog, before you leave 
Down?” 

“I think so, yes.” 

“We could get out into the 
desert and back before sunset.” 

And so we turned west. The 
Ho River slipped beneath us, and 
then a long stretch of cultivated 
fields. 

IV 

HPhey can’t be intelligent, I was 
-*■ thinking. They can’t. 

“What?” 

“Sorry, Jilson. Was I talking 
out loud?” 

“Yah. You saw that brain, 
didn’t you?” 

“I did.” 

“Then how can you say they’re 
not intelligent?” 

“They’ve got no use for intelli- 
gence.” 

“Does a dolphin? Or a sperm 
whale, or a bandersnatch?” 


164 


GALAXY 


“Yes, yes, no. Think it through. 
A dolphin has to hunt down its 
food. It has to outwit hungry 
killer whales. A sperm whale also 
has the killer whale problem, or 
used to. Then there were whaling 
ships. The smarter they were, the 
longer they could live. 

“Remember, cetaceans are 
mammals. They developed some 
brains on land. When they went 
back to the sea they grew, and 
their brains grew too. The better 
their brains were, the better they 
could control their muscles, and 
the more agile they were in water. 
They needed brains, and they 
had a head start.” 

“What about bandersnatchi?” 
“You know perfectly well that 
evolution didn’t produce the ban- 
dersnatchi.” 

A moment of silence. Then, 
"What?” 

“You really don’t know?” 

“I’ve never heard of a life form 
being produced without evolu- 
tion. How did it happen?” 

I told him. 

/^\nce upon a time, a billion and 
^ a half years ago, there was 
an intelligent biped species. In- 
telligent — but not very. But 
they had a natural ability to con- 
trol the minds of any sentient 
race they came across. Today we 
call them Slavers. At its peak the 
Slaver Empire included most of 
the galaxy. 


One of their slave races had 
been the tnuctip, a highly ad- 
vanced, highly intelligent species 
already practicing biological en- 
gineering when the Slavers found 
them. The Slavers gave them lim- 
ited freedom, after they found 
the worth of those freethinking 
brains. In return the tnuctipun 
had built them biological tools. 
Ani plants for their spacecraft, 
stage trees with shaped solid-fuel 
rocket cores, racing animals, ban- 
dersnatchi. The bandersnatchi 
was a meat animal. It would eat 
anything, and everything but its 
skeleton was edible. 

There had come a day, a billion 
and a half years ago, when the 
Slavers found that most of the 
tnuctip gifts were traps. The re- 
bellion had been a long time 
building, and the Slavers had un- 
derestimated their slaves. To win 
that war they had been forced to 
use a weapon which exterminated 
not only the tnuctipun, but every 
other sentient species then in the 
galaxy. Then, without slaves, the 
Slavers too had died. 

Scattered through known 
space, on odd worlds and be- 
tween stars, were the relics of the 
Slaver Empire. Some were Slaver 
artifacts, protected against time 
by stasis fields. Others were more 
or less mutated tnuctip creations : 
sunflowers, stage trees, ships’ air 
plants floating naked in space in 
bubbles and bander-snatchi. 


HANDICAP 


165 


The bandersnatchi had been 
one of the tnuctip traps. It had 
been built sentient, so that it 
could be used as a spy. Some- 
how the tnuctipun had made it 
immune to the Slaver power. 
Thus it had lived through the 
revolution .... 

For what? 

The Jinxian bandersnatchi 
spent their lives in a soupy, pres- 
surized fog, browsing off the an- 
cient food yeast which still cov- 
ered the ocean a foot deep in 
cheesy gray scum. No data reach- 
ed their senses but for the taste 
of yeast and the everlasting gray 
mist. They had brains to think 
with but nothing to think about 
. . . until the coming of man. 

“And it can’t mutate,” I con- 
cluded. “So you can forget the 
bandersnatch. He’s the exception 
that proves the rule. All other 
known Handicapped needed 
brains before their brains devel- 
oped.” 

“And they’re all cetaceans, 
from Earth’s oceans.” 

“Well — ” 

Jilson made a razzing noise. 
Hell, he was right. They were all 
cetaceans. 

'IXte’d left the plowed lands far 
’ ’ behind. Gradually the plains 
became a desert. I was beginning 
to feel more comfortable with the 
beast under me, this platform 
with a saddle and an oversized 


lift-belt motor and an air pump 
and a forcefield generator to stop 
the wind. Feeling less likely to 
make a mistake, I could fly low- 
er, with less room to correct be- 
fore I hit sand. From this close 
the desert was alive.- There, roll- 
ing before the wind, was a wild 
cousin to the tumbleweeds I’d 
seen in the Zoo of Earth. There, 
a straight stalk with orange 
leaves around the base, fleshy 
leaves with knife-sharp edges to 
discourage herbivores. There, an- 
other, and a fox-sized herbivore 
cleverly eating out the center of 
a leaf. It looked up, saw us and 
disappeared into motion. There, 
a vivid flash of scarlet, some des- 
ert plant which had picked an 
odd time to bloom. 

The soft red sun made every- 
thing look like the decor in a 
night club I know. It’s decorated 
like Mars ought to be, like Mars 
“was” before space flight. A dis- 
tance illusion: red sand, straight 
canals running with improbably 
clear, pure water, crystal towers 
reaching high, high, toward big 
fat crescent moons. Suddenly I 
wanted a drink. 

I dug in my saddlebags, hop- 
ing to find a flask. It was there, 
and it was heavy with fluid. I 
pinched the top open, tilted it 
to my lips — and almost choked. 
Martini! A half-pint martini, a 
little too sweet, but far colder 
than ice cold. I sipped at it, 


166 


GALAXY 


twice, and put it away. “I like 
Downers,” I said. 

“Good. Why?” 

“No flatlander would think to 
put a martini in a rental sky- 
cycle unless he was asked to.” 
“Harry’s a nice guy. Woop, 
there’s a cone.” 

I looked down and right, 
searching for sand-colored hair 
against sand. The cone was in its 
own shadow; it practically jump- 
ed at me. And, equally suddenly, 
I knew what had awakened me 
in the dark morning. 

“What’s wrong?” asked Jilson. 
I realized that I’d gasped. 

“Nothing. Jilson, I don’t know 
all I should about Downer ani- 
mals. Do they excrete solids?” 
“Do they — ? Hey, that was 
nicely put. Yes, they do.” He tilt- 
ed his vehicle toward the cone. 

It sat firmly on a tilted flat 
rock which lifted one edge out 
of the sand. The rock was abso- 
lutely clean. 

“Then Grogs do too.” 

“Right.” Jilson landed. 

I drifted in beside him, drop- 
ped the sky cycle joltingly hard. 
The Grog sat facing us, smiling. 

“Well, where’s the evidence? 
Who cleans after this thing?” 
Jilson scratched his head. He 
walked around the base of the 
Grog and came back, looking 
puzzled. “Funny, I never thought 
of that. Scavengers?” 

“Maybe.” 


“Would that be very impor- 
tant?” 

“Maybe. Most sessile animals 
live in water. The water carries 
everything away.” 

“There’s a sessile thing from 
Gummidgy that doesn’t.” 

“I’ve got one. But the orchid- 
thing lives in trees. It attaches 
itself to a nice thick horizontal 
tree branch, with its tail hanging 
over the edge.” 

“Mmm.” He seemed uninter- 
ested. No doubt he was right; 
some scavenger cleaned up after 
the Grog. But it didn’t sound 
right. Why would the parasite 
animal do such a good job? 

r lphe Grog and I faced each 
other. 

As a rule the Handicapped 
seemed to suffer from sensory 
deprivation. Cetaceans live un- 
derwater; bandsnatchi live in 
heated, pressurized fog. Maybe 
it’s too early to make such rules, 
but it’s for sure that a Handi- 
capped will have trouble experi- 
menting with his environment. 
Experiments generally require 
tools. 

But the Grog had real troubles. 
Blind, numb in all its extermities 
due to the nearly useless spinal 
cord, unable even to move to a 
different location — what could 
be its picture of the universe? 

Somehow I found myself star- 
ing at its hands. 


HANDICAP 


167 


Hands. Useless, of course, but 
still — hands. Four fingers with 
tiny claws, set around the tiny 
palm like the fingers of a mech- 
anical grab. 

“It didn’t evolve at all. It de- 
volved!” 

Jilson looked up. He was using 
his skycycle as the only conven- 
ient tiling to sit on for miles 
around. “What are you talking 
about?” 

“The Grog. It’s got vestigal 
hands. Once it must have been 
a higher form of life.” 

“Or a climbing animal, like a 
monkey.” 

“I don’t think so. I think it 
had a brain and hands and mo- 
bility. Then something happened, 
and it lost its civilization. Now 
it’s lost its mobility and its 
hands — ” 

“Why would it stop moving?” 

“Maybe there was a shortage 
of food. Not moving conserved 
energy.” And because that was 
the sheerest guesswork, I added, 
“Or maybe it got in the habit of 
watching too much tridee. I know 
people who don’t move for 
weeks.” 

“During the Interworld Play- 
offs my cousin Ernie — Hell 
with it. You think that’s the an- 
swer, do you?” 

“Yes. It’s in a trap. No eyes, 
no sensory input, no way to do 
anything with what it does think 
about. It’s like a blind, deaf and 


dumb baby with glove anesthesia 
all over.” 

“It’s still got the brain.” 

“Like our appendix. It’ll lose 
that too.” 

“You’re the one who was wor- 
ried about the Handicapped. 
Can’t you do anything for it?” 

“Euthanasia, maybe. No, not 
even that. Let’s go back to 
Downtown.” I walked through 
sand toward my cycle, sick with 
discouragement. Bandersnatchi 
had needed men to tell them 
about the stars. But what could 
you tell a hairy cone? 

No, it was back to Downtown 
for me, and then back to Earth. 
There are people no doctor and 
no psychiatrist can help; and 
there are species equally beyond 
aid. With the Grogs there was 
no place to start. 

A few feet from the cycle I sat 
down cross-legged in the sand. 
Jilson got down beside me. We 
faced the Grog, waiting. 

T)y and by Jilson said, “What 
are we waiting for?” 

I shrugged. I didn’t know. But 
Jilson didn’t move, and neither 
did I. I knew with a crystalline 
certainty that we were doing the 
right thing. 

Simultaneously, we turned 
from the Grog to look into the 
desert. 

Something the size of a rat 
came hopping toward us, kick- 


168 


GALAXY 



ing up dust. Behind it, another, 
and another. They hopped la- 
boriously across the sand, spring- 
ing high, and stopped in an arc 
facing the Grog. 

The Grog turned toward them 
— not like you’d turn your neck, 
but turning all over, like you’d 
wring a dishcloth. It looked 
sightlessly at the sand rats, and 
the sand rats perched on their 
hind legs and looked back. 

The Grog’s mouth opened. It 
was a cavern, and the tongue was 
coiled on its pink floor. The 
tongue moved like a flash, in- 
visibly fast, flick, flick. Two of 
the rats were gone. The mouth 
( not too small to swallow a man) 
dropped shut, smiling gently. 

The third rat was there on its 
hind legs. None of them had 
tried to run. They might just as 
well have. 

Again the Grog’s mouth drop- 
ped open. The last sand rat took 
a running leap and landed on the 
coiled tongue. The mouth closed 
for the last time, and the cone 
turned back to face us. 

I had the answers, all at once, 
intuitively, with the same force 
of conviction that now had me 
sitting cross-legged on the sand. 

The Grog was psychic. Or 
something similar. It could con- 
trol minds, even minds as insig- 
nificant as a sand rat’s. 

That was the purpose of the 
Grog’s large brain. Its intelli- 


gence was a side effect of its 
power. For eons the Grogs had 
called their food to them. They 
did not hunt after childhood. 
After the brain had developed 
they need never move again. 

They didn’t need eyes; they 
had little need of other sensory 
perceptions. They used the senses 
of other animals. 

They directed the scavengers 
who cleaned their rocks, and their 
pelts, too, when necessary. Their 
mind control brought meat ani- 
mals to their pre-sessile female 
young, directed their breeding 
habits and guided them to proper 
anchor rocks. 

And they were now feeding in- 
formation directly into my brain. 

said, “But why me?” 

I knew, with that “crystal- 
line certainty” I was learning to 
recognize. The Grogs were aware 
of what they were missing. They 
had read the minds of passersby: 
first kzinti warriors, then human 
miners, explorers, sightseers. And 
my business was the Handicap- 
ped. They had learned of the 
Dolphin’s Hands. They had 
primed Jilson and others to know, 
without evidence, that the Grogs 
were sentient, and to say so when 
the right person should appear. 

Without evidence. That was 
important. They had to know 
what they were getting into be- 
fore committing themselves. 


170 


GALAXY 


Men like Dr. Fuller could investi- 
gate if they liked; it would look 
suspicious if they were prevent- 
ed. But something kept them 
from noticing the handlike ap- 
pearance of those tiny forepaws, 
the lack of biological wastes 
around a wild Grog. 

Could I help them? 

The question was suddenly an 
obsession. I shook my head to 
fight it off. “I don’t know. Why 
did you wait so long to show 
yourselves?” 

Fear. 

“Why? Are we that terrifying?” 

I waited for an answer. None 
came. There was no sudden, ut- 
terly convincing bit of data in 
my brain. 

Then they feared even me. 
Me, helpless before a flickering 
tongue and an iron mind. I won- 
dered why? 

I was sure that the Grogs had 
developed from some higher, bi- 
pedal form of life. The tiny 
hands, like mechanical grabs, 
were characteristic. As was that 
eerie mental control .... 

I tried to stand up, to run. My 
legs wouldn’t lift me. I tried to 
blank my thoughts, to hide what 
I’d guessed, but that was useless. 
They could read my mind. They 
knew. 

“It’s the Slaver power. Your 
ancestors were Slavers.” And here 
I sat, with my mind wide open 
and helpless .... 


Qoothingly, with characteristic 
^crystal certainty, I realized:! 
That the Grogs knew nothing of 
Slavers. That, as far as they 
knew, they had been there for- 
ever. 

That the Grogs couldn’t be 
idiot enough to try for a take- 
over bid. They were sessile. They 
couldn’t move. Their leftover 
Slaver power could reach less 
than halfway around the world, 
with all the Grog individuals 
working together. How could 
they dream of attacking a 
species which controlled all 
space in a thirty-light-year-dia- 
meter sphere? Fear alone had 
kept them from letting mankind 
know what they were. Fear of 
extermination. 

“You could be lying about how 
far you can reach. I’d never 
know.” 

Nothing. Nothing touched my 
mind. I stood up. Jilson watched 
me, then got up and mechani- 
cally brushed himself off. He 
looked at the Grog, opened his 
mouth, closed it, gulped and said, 
“Garvey! What did it do to us?” 

“Didn’t it tell you?” In the 
same moment I was certain it 
hadn’t. 

“It made me sit down, it put 
on a show with sand rats .... 
you saw it too, didn’t you?” 

“Yes.” 

“Then it left us sitting 
awhile. You talked to it. Then 


HANDICAP 


171 


suddenly we were able to get up.” 
“That's right. But it talked to 
me, too.” 

“I told you it was intelligent!” 
“Jilson, can you find your way 
back here in the morning?” 
“Absolutely not. But I’ll set 
your skycycle to record your 
course, so you can get back. If 
you’re sure you want to.” 

“I’m not. But I want the 
choice.” 

The sun was a smoky red glow 
in the west, fading over a blue- 
black horizon. 

’d laughed. 

The hotel rooms didn’t have 
sleeping plates. If you slept at all, 
you slept on a flat, cushiony sur- 
face and liked it. I’d slept all 
right last night, until the Grog’s 
call came to wake me in the 
small hours. But how could I 
sleep now? 

Unbeknownst to yours truly, 
Sharon and Lois had been expect- 
ing us for dinner. Jilson had 
phoned them before we set out 
for the zoo. Tonight we’d eaten 
some kind of small bird, one each. 
Delicious. You didn’t dare touch 
anything afterward, not until 
you’d wiped your hands on hot 
towels. 

And we’d talked about the 
Grogs. The cone had left Jilson’s 
mind practically untouched, so 
that he’d have something like an 
unbiased opinion. His unbiased 


opinion was that he wasn’t going 
back there for anything, and I 
shouldn’t either. The girls agreed. 

I’d laughed at the Grog. Who 
wouldn’t? 

Dolphins, bandersnatchi, Grogs 
— you laugh at them, the Handi- 
capped. You laugh with a dol- 
phin, really; he’s the greatest 
clown in known space. You laugh 
the first time you see a bander- 
snatch. He looks like something 
God forgot to finish; there’s no 
detail, just that white shape. But 
you’re laughing partly out of 
nervousness, because that moving 
white mound would no more no- 
tice you than a land tank would 
notice a snail under its treads. 
And you laugh at a Grog. No 
nervousness there. A Grog is a 
cartoon. 

Like a doctor using a stomach 
pump in reverse, the Grog had 
shoved its information down my 
throat. I could feel the bits of 
cold certainty floating in my 
mind like icebergs in dark water. 

I could doubt what I had been 
told. I could doubt, for instance, 
that all the Grogs on Down could 
not reach out to twist the minds 
of humans on, say, Jinx. I could 
doubt their terror, their utter 
helplessness, their need for my 
help. But I had to keep remem- 
bering to doubt. Otherwise the 
doubt would go, and the cold 
bits of certainty remained. 

Not funny. 


172 


GALAXY 


We ought to exterminate them. 
Now. Get all men off Down, then 
do something to the sun. Or bring 
in an old STL ramscoop-fusion 
ship and land it somewhere, leave 
the ramscoop running, twist 
every vertebrate on the planet 
inside out. 

But: 

They had come to me. To me. 

They were so secretive, so mor- 
tally afraid of being treated like 
savage, resurrected Slavers. Dr. 
Fuller could have been told half 
the truth, and he would have 
stopped his experimenting; or he 
could have been stopped in his 
tracks by the reaching Grog 
minds. But no. They preferred to 
starve, to keep their secrets. 

Yet they’d come to me at the 
first opportunity. 

The Grogs were eager. Man, 
what a chance they’d taken! But 
they needed — something. Some- 
thing only mankind could pro- 
vide. I wasn’t sure what, but of 
one thing I was sure: 

It was a seller’s market. They 
wanted to do business. It was no 
guarantee of their good faith; but 
if I could think of such guaran- 
tees, I could force them through. 

Then I felt those crystalline 
certainties again, floating in my 
mind. I didn’t want any more of 
those. 

I got up and ordered a peanut 
butter, bacon, tomato, lettuce 
sandwich. It arrived without 


mayonnaisse. I tried to order 
mayonnaise, but the kitchen dis- 
penser had never heard of it. 

A good thing the Grogs hadn’t 
revealed themselves to the kzinti, 
back when Kzin owned the plan- 
et. The kzinti would have wiped 
them out, or, worse, used them 
as allies against human space. 
Had the kzinti used Grogs for 
food? If they had, then — But 
no. The Grogs would make poor 
prey. They couldn’t run. 

My eyes were still seeing red 
light, so that the stars beyond 
the porch seemed blue and bright 
above a black plain. I thought 
of going down to the port and 
renting a room on some grounded 
ship, so that at least I could 
float between sleeping plates. 
Nuts. 

I could not face a Grog. Not 
when it had to talk to me by — 

That was at least part of the 
answer. I phoned the desk com- 
puter and told it what I wanted. 

By and by other parts of the 
answer came. There was a mu- 
tated alfalfa grass which would 
grow under red sunlight; the 
seeds had been in the cargo hold 
of the ship that brought me. It 
was part of Down’s agricultural 
program. Well .... 

VI 

I flew back to the desert the 
next morning, alone. The guy 


HANDICAP 


173 


who owned the skycycles had set 
mine aside, with the course record 
intact so I could find my way 
back. 

The Grog was there. Or I’d 
found another by accident. I 
couldn’t tell, and it didn’t matter. 
I grounded the skycycle and got 
off, tensing for the feel of little 
tendrils probing at my mind. 
There was nothing. I was sure it 
was reading my mind, but I 
couldn’t feel it. 

With crystalline certainty there 
came the knowledge that I was. 
welcome. I said, “Get out of 
there. Get out and stay out.” 

The Grog did nothing. Like 
the knowledge I’d gained yester- 
day afternoon, the conviction 
stayed : I was welcome, welcome. 
Great. 

I dug in my saddlebags and 
pulled out a heavy oblong. “I had 
a lot of trouble finding this,” I 
told the Grog. “It’s a museum 
piece. If Downers weren’t so hell 
bent on doing everything with 
their hands I’d never have found 
one at all.” 

I opened it a few feet from the 
Grog’s mouth, inserted a piece 
of paper in the rollers, plugged 
the cord into a hand battery. 
“My mind will tell you how to 
work this. Let’s see how good 
your tongue is.” I looked for a 
good seat, finally settled my back 
against the Grog, under its 
mouth. I could read the print 


from here. There was no feeling 
of lese majeste. If the Grog want- 
ed me for dinner I was doomed, 
period. 

The tongue lashed out, invisi- 
bly fast. PLEASE KEEP YOUR 
EYES ON THE TYPEWRIT- 
ER, it printed. OTHERWISE I 
CANNOT SEE IT. WOULD 
YOU MOVE THE MACHINE 
FURTHER AWAY? 

I did. “How’s that?” 

GOOD ENOUGH. YOU ARE 
OVERCONCERNED WITH 
PRIVACY. 

“Maybe. This seems to work. 
Now, before we begin, would you 
read my mind about ramscoop 
motors?” 

I SEE. CONSIDER THE 
POINT MADE. 

“Then I will. What can you of- 
fer us in trade?” 

JUST WHAT YOU THINK 
WE WILL HERD YOUR CAT 
TLE. IN TIME THERE MAI 
BE OTHER THINGS WE CAb 
DO. WE COULD MONITOR 
THE HEALTH OF ZOO ANI- 
MALS AND BE EXHIBITS AT 
THE SAME TIME. WE CAN 
DO POLICE WORK WE WILL 
GUARD DOWN. AN ENEMY 
COULD DESTROY DOWN, 
BUT NO ENEMY COULD IN- 
VADE DOWN. Despite the 
speed of its flicking tongue, the 
Grog typed as slowly as a one- 
finger typist. 

“Okay. You wouldn’t object to 


174 


GALAXY 


our seeding your property with 
mutated grass?” 

NO, NOR TO YOUR MOV- 
ING CATTLE INTO OUR 
TERRITORY. WE WILL 
NEED SOME OF THE CAT- 
TLE FOR FOOD, AND WE 
WOULD PREFER THAT THE 
PRESENT DESERT ANI- 
MALS REMAIN. WE DO NOT 
WISH TO LOSE ANY OF OUR 
PRESENT TERRITORY. 

“Will you need new land?” 

NO. PLANNED PARENT- 
HOOD IS EASY FOR US. WE 
NEED ONLY RESTRICT THE 
PRE-SESSILES. 

“We don’t trust you, you know. 
We’ll be taking steps to see that 
you don’t control human minds. 
I’m going to get myself checked 
over very carefully when I go 
home.” 

NATURALLY. YOU WILL 
BE HAPPY TO KNOW THAT 
WE CANNOT LEAVE THIS 
WORLD WITHOUT SPECIAL 
PROTECTION. ULTRAVIO- 
LET WOULD KILL US. IF 
YOU WISH A GROG IN THE 
ZOO OF EARTH — 

“We can take care of that. It’s 
a good idea, too. Now, what can 
we do for you? How about some 
modified Dolphin’s Hands?” 

NO THANK YOU. A DES- 
ERT ANIMAL WITH SOME- 
THING LIKE HANDS WOULD 
BE BETTER. WHAT WE RE- 
QUIRE IS KNOWLEDGE. A 


TAPE ENCYCLOPEDIA, AC- 
CESS TO HUMAN LIBRA- 
RIES. BETTER YET, HUMAN 
GUEST LECTURERS WHO 
DO NOT MIND HAVING 
THEIR MINDS READ. 

“Guest lecturers. That’ll be ex- 
pensive.” 

HOW EXPENSIVE? HOW 
MUCH ARE OUR SERVICES 
WORTH AS HERDERS? 

“Good point.” I settled myself 
more comfortably against the 
Grog’s hairy side. “Okay. Let’s 
talk business.” 

I t was a year before I touched 
Down again. By then, Garvey 
Limited was almost ready to 
show a profit. 

I’d driven through the roughest 
deal I could think of. As far as 
the planet Down was concerned, 
Garvey Limited had a monopoly 
on Grogs. They couldn’t have 
bought a pack of tabac sticks ex- 
cept through us. We paid fat 
taxes to the Downer human gov- 
ernment, but that expense was 
almost minor. 

We’d had major expenses. 

The worst was publicity. I 
hadn’t tried to keep the secret 
of the Grog power. That would 
have been futile. And that power 
was scary. Our only defense 
against a panic that could have 
covered human space like a blan- 
ket was the Grog’s themselves. 
Grogs were funny. 


HANDICAP 


175 


I’d kept pushing, pushing, 
pushing pictures. Grogs operating 
typewriters, Grogs guiding 
Down’s expanding herds of cat- 
tle, Grogs in a spacecraft cabin, 
a Grog standing by during a 
tricky operation on a sick Kodiak 
bear. The Grog always looked 
just about the same. To see one 
was to laugh, and never to fear 
. . . unless there were unnatural 
crystalline certainties poking into 
the crevices of your brain. 

The really important jobs for 
Grogs were just coming into ex- 
istence. Already Wunderland had 
changed its laws to allow Grogs 
to testify in a courtroom, as ex- 
pert lie detectors. A Grog would 
be present at the next summit 
meeting between human and 
kzinti space. Ships venturing into 
unknown space would probably 
carry Grogs, in case they met 
aliens and needed a translator. 

Fuzzy Grog dolls were being 
sold in the toy stores. We didn’t 
make a dime on that. But I was 
building for the future. 

I took a day to rest up after 
landing, to say hi to Jilson and 
Sharon and Lois. Next morning 
I flew out into the desert. Now 
there was grass covering a lot of 
what had been barren land. I 
found a circle of white far below, 
and on a hunch I dropped. 

The white was a flock of sheep. 
In the center nestled a Grog. 

“Welcome, Garvey.” 


“Thanks,” I said, not trying to 
shout. She would be reading my 
mind and answering through the 
nerve-implanted vocal equip- 
ment we’d started manufacturing 
in quantity two months ago. That 
had been another major expense, 
but a necessary one. 

“What’s all this about dolls?” 

“We can’t make any money on 
that. It’s not as if there was a 
copyright on the Grog form.” I 
circled the skycycle, landed and 
got off. 

We talked things other than 
business. She wanted a Grog doll, 
for instance, and I promised her 
“lecturers,” arranging them in or- 
one. We went through a list of 
der of priority. Getting them here 
would involve nothing more than 
paying their way and paying 
them for their time. None of 
them would have to make any 
kind of speech. 

Neither one of us mentioned 
the ramscoop. 

I t was not on Down. Put a 
weapon on Down and the Grogs 
could simply have made it their 
own; it would be no defense. 
We’d put it in close orbit around 
the Downer sun, closer than Mer- 
cury would have been. If the 
Grogs ever became a threat, the 
electromagnetic ramscoop field 
would go on. And Down’s sun 
would begin behaving very 
strangly. 


176 


GALAXY 



Neither of us mentioned it. 
What for? She knew my reasons. 

It was not that I feared the 
Grogs. I feared myself. The ram- 
scoop was there to prove that I 
had been allowed to act against 
the Grogs’ best interests. That I 
was my own man. 

And I still wasn’t sure. Could 
the last man aboard have sabo- 
taged the motor? Could the 
Grogs reach that far? There was 


no way to find out. If it was true, 
then anyone who boarded the 
old ship would report that it was 
A-okay, ready to fire, don’t wor- 
ry about it, Garvey. Forget it. 
Sleep easy. 

Maybe I will. It’s easy enough 
to believe that the Grogs are in- 
nocuous, helpful, desperate for 
friendship. 

I wonder what we’ll meet next. 

— LARRY NIVEN 


* 


HANDICAP 


177 


YHi 

FAIRLY CIVIL 

SERVICE ' 

by HARRY HARRISON 

Lucky Civil Service employees l 
Nothing to do all day but care 
hr a grateful , friendly publicl 



precisely at nine in the morning 
-*■ the post office opened and 
the first customers were allowed 
to enter. Howards knew this. Yet, 
as he straightened his Book on 
the counter before him, he could 
not prevent himself from glanc- 
ing worriedly at the big clock on 
the wall. Why? This was just a 
work day like any other day. 
God, the fear, deep down, as the 
long black pointer clicked an- 
other notch towards the vertical! 

Just another day, why should 
he be so concerned? He tittered 
nervously and turned his key in 
the lock of the multifrank before 
him, just as two people appeared 
cn the other side of the counter. 

“I wish to post this letter to 
Sierra Leone,” the man said. 

“A two-credit insurance 
stamp,” the woman said. 

They began to instantly squab- 
ble as to which of them had been 
there first, their voices crescen- 


doing shriller and higher. How- 
ards slapped his left hand on the 
Book and raised his right. 

“Stop,” he said, and they did, 
struck by the authority in his 
voice. “Reference B-86Y/254 in 
the Book of Postal Regulations 
states that all differences of opin- 
ion and priority are to be set- 
tled by the serving clerk. That is 
myself. Ladies first. Here is your 
insurance stamp, madam.” 

His fingers were snapping over 
the complex controls of the mul- 
tifrank even as he spoke, and he 
was secretly proud of the as- 
sured way that he said it. The 
man stepped aside, the woman 
timidly proffered her insurance 
book as he stood with his finger 
over the activate button. With his 
free hand he flipped the book 
open, dropped it into the slot and 
pressed the button. 

“That will be 22 credits 80, 
madam.” The bills went into the 

178 


cash receptacle and her change 
rattled into the delivery cup. 
“Next,” he said, not without a 
certain amount of condescension. 

, 'T~'he man said nothing, he knew 
-*■ better than to argue. He cer- 
tainly did. What was in the Book 
was correct. The man stepped 
away, and Howards thought that 
this day had certainly begun bus- 
ily enough : but why the little 
shivering knot of fear, Howards?, 
he wondered to himself, and rub- 
bed at the spot in his midriff with 
his knuckles. 

A large, dark man with a full 
black beard filled the space out- 
side the counter. “Do you know 
what this is?” he bellowed. 

“I certainly do,” Howards said. 
(Did his voice crack a little?) 
“That is a needle gun.” 

“You are correct,” the man 
hissed in a voice like the break- 
ing of poison waves. “It fires 
soundlessly a needle with such 
great speed that contact with the 
human body produces a hydro- 
static wave that utterly destroys 
the nervous system. Would you 
like that?” White teeth appeared 
in the tangle of black beard. 

“I would not like my nervous 
system utterly destroyed.” 

“You will then pay me the 
sum of 4,999 credits.” 

“I have no till or money. Cash 
is centrally supplied . . . .” 
“Fool! I know all that. I also 
THE FAIRLY CIVIL SERVICE 


know that the payment of any 
sum over 5,000 credits must be 
specially authorized for any posi- 
tion. Therefore — 4,999 credits. 
At once.” 

“At once,” Howards said crisp- 
ly, and spoke aloud as he hit the 
keys. “Four, nine, nine, nine. . . .” 

“Now activate.” 

Howards hesitated for a mere 
fraction of an instant, sucked in 
his breath, then snapped his fin- 
ger down on the activate button. 

There was the rattle of small 
change from the delivery cup, and 
the man glanced down at it just 
as a gush of white vapor shot out 
into his face. He screamed and 
writhed and fell as the full force 
of the regurgitants, irritants and 
vesicants hit him at once. 

“Foolish man,” Howards said 
into the handkerchief he raised 
to his face, stepping back away 
from the gas. “Security was onto 
him as soon as I rang up 499,- 
900,000 credits. Just a simple 
decimal shift. . . .” 

T t was almost nine, and the first 
^ customers would be in soon. A 
day like any other day — then 
why was he feeling this way? 
What way? As if he were im- 
prisoned in the back of his own 
brain and screaming. Foolish- 
ness, this was not a proper 
thought for a public servant to 
have. 

“Help me,” the old woman said 

179 


just as the black hand touched 
the hour. 

“Of course, madam.” Where 
had she come from, like that, so 
quickly? 

“It is my pension — ” push- 
ing a battered and torn payment 
book across the counter with her 
scaling, shivering hand. “They 
will not pay me my money.” 

“Money due is always paid,” 
Howards said, flipping open the 
rusty book while trying to touch 
it only with the tips of his fin- 
gers. He pointed to a torn frag- 
ment of paper. “Here is the rea- 
son. The page is missing. To 
authorize payment you must get 
form 92 5/ lk (43) and have it 
filled out.” 

“I have it,” the woman told 
him, and pushed over — almost 
threw, in fact — an even more 
creased and soiled piece of pa- 
per. Howards hoped that none of 
his feelings were revealed on his 
face as he turned and read it. 

“This is the correct form, ma- 
dam, but it is not completely 
filled out. In this blank here you 
must enter your deceased hus- 
band’s insurance number.” 

“I do not know his number,” 
the woman shrilled and clutched 
tightly to the counter’s edge. “He 
is dead and his papers, they were 
all destroyed, you see.” 

“In that case you must obtain 
form 276/po(67) which is an 
application to the proper author- 
180 


ities for the required informa- 
tion.” He pushed the papers with, 
what he hoped was, a smile. “You 
can obtain an application for 
this form. . . 

“I will die first,” the old wom- 
an screamed and threw all her 
papers into the air so that they 
fluttered down around her like 
filthy confetti. “I have not eaten 
for a week. I demand justice. I 
must have money for food!” 

It was all quite distasteful. “I 
wish I could oblige, madam, but 
I have no authority. You should 
apply for the form of application 
to see the Emergency Offi- 
cer. . . 

“I will be dead first!” she 
shouted hoarsely and thrust her 
face towards his. He could smell 
her sour breath and quickly with- 
drew. “Have you no pity on 
someone my age? I could be 
your mother.” 

“Thankfully, madam, you are 
not. My mother has the proper 
forms.” 

“Forms!” Her voice screeched 
higher and higher until it crack- 
ed. “You are more for forms 
than for human life. I swore I 
would kill myself unless I ob- 
tained money for food today. 
Save me!” 

“Please do not threaten. I 
have done what I can.” Had he? 
Was there some authority he 
should summon? Was he cor- 
rect. . . . 


GALAXY 


“Better a quick death than one 
of slow starvation. Money — or 
I die!” 

Qhe had a large bread knife now 
^ and was waving it before him. 
Was this a threat? Did it call 
for the guards? 

“I cannot,” Howard gasped, 
and his fingers hovered over the 
keys in an agony of indecision. 
Guards? Doctor? Police? 

“Then I die, and it is a world 
I do not regret losing.” 

She held one hand on the 
counter, palm up, and with a sav- 
age slash of the knife almost sev- 
ered the hand from the wrist. 
Thick blood spurted high. 

“What have you done?” he 
shouted and reached for the keys. 
But she began to scream and 
wave her arm and blood spatter- 
ed him and gushed over the 
counter. 

“The Book!” he gasped, “you’re 
getting blood on the Book. You 
cannot.” He pulled it away and 
began to dab at it with his hand- 
kerchief, then remembered that 
he had not yet summoned help. 
He hesitated, torn, then put the 
Book in the farthest corner and 
rushed back to his position. 
There was blood everywhere — 
had he made a mistake? — and 
the woman had sunk from sight 
but he could still hear her 
moans? 

“Medical assistance,” he said 


quickly into the microphone. 
“First-aid needed. At once.” 

Should he do something for 
her? But he could not leave his 
station. And the blood, every- 
where, on his hands and shirt. He 
held them out in horror. He had 
never seen so much human blood 
before. . . . 

And at nine o’clock precise- 
ly, the post office would open. 
Another day, just like any other. 

What was wrong with his 
hands? Was there something he 
should remember? Like a van- 
ishing echo a memory rushed 
away — a memory of what? 
There was nothing wrong, he 
was at his position where he be- 
longed, with his Book close at 
hand and the shining mass of the 
multifrank before him. He be- 
longed. Of course he belonged. 
Then why, again, a fleeting, fad- 
ing frightening memory that it 
was wrong? 

Why was he looking at his 
hands? 

Howards shivered and unlock- 
ed the machine and cleared it, 
flipped the test and operational 
switch so the light glowed green, 
checked the cleared reading and 
set up 4,999. . . . 

This was not right. Why had 
he done it? With a furtive glance 
over his shoulder he quickly 
cleared the machine. The long 
black hand of the clock clicked 
one notch forward and was ver- 

181 


THE FAIRLY CIVIL SERVICE 


tical and an immense queue of 
people formed outside his po- 
sition. They were jammed solid, 
all looking at him, quiet now, 
though there was a murmur from 
the rear. 

Ci/^ood morning, sir, he said 
to the red-faced gentle- 
man who headed the line. “What 
may I. . . .” 

“None of your conversation. I 
want service, not chatter. This 
letter, special delivery, at once, 
to Capitello, Salerno, Italy. What 
will it cost?” 

“That depends,” Howards said, 
reaching for the envelope which 
the man pulled back. 

“Depends upon what, damn 
it? I want to mail this thing, not 
talk about it.” 

There was a murmur of im- 
patience from the waiting people 
and, smiling insincerely, Howards 
said, “It depends upon the weight, 
sir. Special-delivery letters are 
delivered by orbiting rocket, and 
the charge varies according to 
the weight.” 

“Then you can damn well stop 
talking about it and weigh it,” he 
said, thrusting the letter forward. 

Howards took it, dropped it in- 
to the slot, then read off the 
price. 

“Too damn much,” the man 
shouted. “Mailed a letter to Cap- 
itello yesterday, and it cost less.” 

“It probably weighed less, sir.” 
182 


“I wanna mail this package,” 
a small child said, thrusting an 
untidy bundle onto the counter. 

“Are you calling me a liar?” 
the red-face man shouted, grow- 
ing even redder. 

“No, sir — just a minute, son- 
ny — I simply stated that if it 
cost less it must have weighed 
less.” 

“Damn nerve! Call a man a 
liar. Ought to thrash you. Wish 
to see your supervisor at once.” 

“My supervisor does not see the 
public. If you wish to file a com- 
plaint the Complaint Office is in 
Room 8934 — don’t do that!” 
he added as the child pushed the 
package further across the coun- 
ter so that it slid off the inner 
edge and fell to the floor. Some- 
thing inside broke with a loud 
plop and an awful stench seeped 
out. 

“You broke it!” the child 
screamed. 

“I did not; take it at once,” 
Howards said, picking it up by 
an end of string and dangling it 
outside. The child ignored it and 
began to cry loudly. 

“Man ought to be horsewhip- 
ped, treating a child like that!” 

“Room 8934,” Howards said 
through clenched lips, hoping the 
man would leave. 

A tall young man with red hair 
was bobbing up and down 
behind the weeping child. “I 

GALAXY 


would like to send a telegram to 
my uncle saying Dear Uncle, 
Need at Once Credits One Hun- 
dred. . , ” 

“Would you please fill out the 
telegraph form,” Howards said, 
pressing the switch that delivered 
a printed form into the dispenser 
outside. 

“Bit of difficulty,” the young 
man said, holding up both of his 
hands which were swathed in 
bandages and plaster. “Can’t 
write, but I can dictate it to you, 
won’t take a moment. ‘Dear Un- 
cle. 

“I am very sorry, but I cannot 
accept dictated telegrams. How- 
ever any public phone will take 
them.” 

“Bit of trouble getting the 
coins in the slot. ‘Dear Uncle 

“Cruel and heartless,” the 
young girl next in line sniffed. 

“I would like to help you,” 
Howards said, “but it is forbid- 
den by regulation. However I am 
sure that someone near the end 
of the line will write your tele- 
gram for you, then I will be 
happy to accept it.” 

“How very smart of you,” the 
young girl said. She was exceed- 
ingly attractive, and when she 
leaned forward her breasts rested 
tidily on the counter’s edge. She 
smiled. “I would like to buy some 
stamps,” she said. 

Howards smiled back, with ut- 
THE FAIRLY CIVIL SERVICE 


most sincerity this time. “I would 
be extremely happy to oblige, 
miss, except for the fact that we 
no longer issue stamps. The 
amount of postage is printed di- 
rectly onto the envelope.” 

“How clever of you. But isn’t 
it possible to buy commemorative 
stamps still held in the postal 
vaults?” 

“Of course, that is a different 
matter. Sale to the public of 
commemorative issues is author- 
ized in the Book by Reference 
Y-23H/)48.” 

“How very intelligent of you to 
remember all of that! Then I 
would like the Centenary of the 
Automatic Diaper Service. . . .” 
“Nerve, damned nerve, trying 
to get rid of me,” the red face 
said, thrusting at him. “Room 
8944 is closed.” 

“I have no doubt that Room 
8944 is closed,” Howards said 
calmly. “I do not know what is 
in Room 8944. But the Com- 
plaints Office is in Room 8934.” 
“Then why in blazes did you 
tell me 8944?” 

“I did not.” 

“You did!” 

“Never. I do not make that 
kind of mistake.” 

Mistake? Howards thought. 
Mistake! Oh, no. 

CtT’m afraid I have made a 
-*• small mistake,” he said, 
white-faced, to the girl. “There 

183 


is a later special order on the 
entry cancelling the issue of all 
commemorative stamps across 
the counter.” 

“But that should make no dif- 
ference,” she said, pouting pret- 
tily. “You can sell me a little 
teensy diaper stamp. . . .” 

“If it was within my power, 
nothing would give me greater 
pleasure. But the regulations can- 
not be broken.” 

“Your head can be broken just 
like you broke this!” an immense 
and angry man said, thrusting the 
girl aside and pushing the crum- 
bled package under Howard’s 
nose. The stench was overwhelm- 
ing. 

“I assure you, sir, I did not 
break that. Would you kindly re- 
move. . . .” 

“My son said you did.” 
“Nevertheless, I did not.” 
“Call my boy a liar!” the man 
roared and reached across the 
counter and grabbed Howards by 
the shirt. 

“Stop that,” Howards gasped 
and tried to pull away and heard 
the material tear. He groped out 
and hit the guard switch. It 
snapped off clean and rattled to 
the floor. Howards pulled back 
harder and most of his shirt came 
away in the man’s hand. 

“Stamp, please,” someone said, 
and a letter dropped into the 
slot. 

“That will be two credits,” 

184 


Howards said, hitting the break- 
down button, then ringing up the 
postage. 

“You said Room 8944,” the red 
face shouted. 

“Been mistreating the ma- 
chine,” a sour-faced repairman 
said appearing beside Howards. 

“Never, I just touched it, and 
it broke.” 

“These machines never break.” 
“Help me,” a frail old woman 
said, pushing a battered and torn 
payment book across the counter 
with a scaly and shaking hand. 
“It is my pension. They will not 
pay me my money.” 

“Money due is always paid,” 
Howards said, closing his eyes 
for an instant — why? — then 
reaching for the book. He caught 
sight of the man pushing up to 
the counter, a man with a tangle 
of black beard and a hateful ex- 
pression. 

“I know . . .” Howards began, 
then stopped. What did he know? 
Something pressed hard inside his 
head and tried to burst out. 

“I do not know his number,” 
the old woman screamed. “He 
is dead — and his papers, they 
were all destroyed you see.” 
“Do you know what this is? 
It is a needle gun.” 

“Not in Room 8944.” 

“Just one diaper. . . .” 
Howards clutched graspingly 
at his head and did not know 
if he was screaming or if he was 

' GALAXY 


hearing someone else scream. 

Welcome blackness engulfed 
him. 

tCK-Tow just sip this, and you 
' will find yourself feeling 
fine in a few moments.” 

Howards took the cup that the 
Examiner held out to him and 
was surprised to discover that 
he needed both hands to hold it. 
He noticed that the backs of his 
hands were beaded with sweat. 
As he sipped he felt the helmet 
lifting from his head, and when 
he looked up he had a swift 
glimpse of it just before it van- 
ished through a recess in the ceil- 
ing. 

“The examination — aren’t 
you going to proceed?” 

The Examiner chuckled and 
steepled his heavy fingers on the 
desk before him. “A not uncom- 
mon reaction,” he said. “The ex- 
amination is complete.” 

“I have no memory. It seemed 
as though the helmet came down, 
then went up again. Though my 
hands are covered with sweat.” 
He looked at them, then shiv- 
ered with realization. “Then the 
examination is over. And I. . . .” 
“You must have patience,” the 
Examiner told him with pon- 
derous dignity. “The results 
must be analyzed, compared, a 
report drawn up. Even electron- 
ically this takes time. You should 
not complain.” 

THE FAIRLY CIVIL SERVICE 


“Oh, I am not complaining, 
Examiner,” Howards said quick- 
ly, lowering his eyes. “I am grate- 
ful.” 

“You should be. Just think of 
the way all of this used to be. 
Hours of oral and written ex- 
aminations, with the best marks 
going to the crammers. You can’t 
cram for a simulator examina- 
tion.” 

“I do know that, Examiner.” 

“Just a few moments of un- 
consciousness, and the machine 
mentally puts you through your 
paces, puts you into situations 
and judges how you respond to 
them. Real situations that a post- 
al clerk would face during the 
normal course of his duties.” 

“Normal duties, of course,” 
Howards said, frowning at his 
hands, then wiping them quickly 
against his side. 

The Examiner stared at the 
figures that raced across the 
screen on his desk. “Not as good 
as I expected, Howards,” he said 
sternly. “You’ll not be a - postal 
clerk this year.” 

tCT)ut — I was so sure — the 
twelfth time.” 

“There is more to clerking than 
just knowing the Book, Go away. 
Study. Apply yourself. Your 
grade this time is high enough so 
that your student’s status will 
continue another year. Work 
harder. Very few students are 

185 


carried past their fifteenth year.” 
Howards stood, helplessly, and 
turned before he left. 

“My wife asked me, to ask 
you, we’re not getting younger. 
Planning permission for a child.” 
“Out of the question. There is 
the population problem for one 
thing, your status for another. If 
you were a clerk, the applica- 
tion might be considered.” 

“But there are so few clerks,” 
Howards said weakly. 

“There are so few positions. Be 
happy you are a registered stu- 
dent with rations and quarters. 
Do you know what it is like to 
be an Under-unemployed?” 


“Thank you, sir. Good-by, sir. 
You have been most kind.” 

Howards closed the door quick- 
ly behind him — why did he 
keep thinking there was blood on 
his hands? He shook his head to 
clear it. 

It would be hard to tell Dora. 
She had hoped so. 

But at least he still had his 
book. A whole year to memorize 
it again. That would be good. 
And there would be inserts and 
additions, that was always good. 

He walked by the post office 
in the lobby of the building with 
his eyes averted. 

—HARRY HARRISON 



186 


GALAXY 



by ALGIS BUDRYS 



nphe appearance of a second, 
and revised, edition of Damon 
Knight’s In Search of Wonder 
(Advent: Publishers; P.O. Box 
9228, Chicago, 111. 60690, $6.00) 
is the occasion for several dis- 
coveries. One of them is that Da- 
mon deserved every good thing he 
got after the appearance of the 
first edition of these critical es- 
says. You may take my word 
for it — if you haven’t already 
guessed as a result of your de- 
voted readership of these, my 
golden thoughts — Damon 
Knight sets an as yet unequalled 
standard in these matters, and 
furthermore does so without the 
guidance of his own prior exam- 
ple. 

Second, Damon Knight appar- 
ently was never a simple critic of 
science fiction, but is instead a 
gifted, skilled polemicist for a 
personal, intuitive literary philo- 
sophy . . . that is, an editor. One 
of the great science-fiction edi- 
tors, and in one narrow sense the 


most spectacular of them all be- 
cause unlike Gemsback, Camp- 
bell or Palmer, or Boucher, he 
has functioned best when he has 
had control of no magazine at 
all. Unique among the handful 
of headstrong, fussy, exasperated 
and exasperating iron whims that 
have shaped the nature of this 
field, Knight is partially para- 
lyzed by the opportunity to se- 
lect and have published such 
original words as would fulfill his 
image of the field. His record as 
an overt editor is one of coping 
— with indifferent publishers, 
with inadequate budgets and 
with, if I remember right, a cer- 
tain startling inability to see the 
real point of a story in manu- 
script. His productions have a 
sketchy quality to them, like the 
furnishings and victuals at Hon- 
ore Balzac’s house, if we are to 
believe Stefan Zweig. Here a 
placard on the wall bears the 
scribbled phrase “Here hangs a 
Rembrandt,” and there the din- 


187 


ner table supports a sheet of pa- 
per on which is written the 
sumptuous bill of fare. Somehow, 
the elements of medium, bank- 
roll and inventory have never 
met well for Damon. It was when 
he was reviewing what had al- 
ready reached print, at the be- 
hest of other image-shapers, that 
he burst forth on us all as a ma- 
jor directorial voice. 

Legend has it that Damon 
Knight was a curly werewolf, 
slashing the throats of the 
chuckleheads, splashing so much 
gore that his spectre haunted the 
night thoughts of authors about 
to do less than their best and 
caused them to think twice of 
foofooraw. Slash he did; why else 
did God make sheep? But his ef- 
fect, his credential and his value 
lie in his poking and prying at 
the well-enough done. His exact 
appreciations of the well done 
are very good, and useful; but 
they began a fashion for superla- 
tives which no writer, not even 
Kuttner, Sturgeon, or some of 
the others Damon treated so well 
on occasion, fully deserves. This 
field has yet to see the writer 
worthy of the praise this educated 
man at times expressed . . . but I 
quibble, when I should be going 
on to explain how meaningful and 
bow influential Knight was When 
summing up the subtle but sud- 
denly obvious flaws in work that 
had seemed pretty good. He 
188 


made of J.T. McIntosh an in- 
struction manual for many, 
whereas all he did with his total 
and vastly entertaining destruc- 
tion of Hall, Flint and Ackerman 
was summed up when Ace reis- 
sued The Blind Spot, and with 
an Ackerman introduction. 

These are the functions of an 
editor: the instruction of the 
young, the maintenance of an 
ideal and above all the isolation 
of the subtle flaw. They require 
special qualities in their prac- 
titioner. Any idiot can spot the 
big flops, every jackass serves 
himself, and any rabblerouser will 
happily divert you with his spe- 
cial music. The literary criticism 
of science fiction as she is pre- 
sently practiced offers excellent 
examples of all this. 

In this second edition you will 
find, among other goodies from 
the earlier version, the famous 
destruction of A.E. Van Vogt that 
first made Damon’s reputation. 
You will also find, in print for 
the first time, the review that 
caused him to quit reviewing 
when F&SF refused to publish 
it. (What a small bone it is, after 
all, but perhaps it came from a 
dear beast). You’ll also get a 
chance to note the only time Da- 
mon was totally wrong, which is 
a hitherto unpublished review of 
a novel of mine called Who? I 
am flattered that the Lord chose 
my work for the focus of the 

GALAXY 


necessary event when Damon 
was saved from the curse of per- 
fection. In any case, for these and 
other magnificent bumps on the 
road to the apotheosis of our art, 
you should mail the six dollars 
to Advent tonight. 

The Playboy Book of Science 
Fiction and Fantasy (Playboy 
Press, $5.95) contains some of the 
best science fiction and fantasy 
stories of our immediate time. 
Partly, this is because, unlike 
many collections from the slick 
magazines, its table of contents 
lists such contributors as Sheck- 
ley, Bradbury, Tenn, Clarke, 
Bloch, Pohl, Nourse, Sturgeon, 
Ted Thomas, Avram Davidson, 
and Fredric Brown in addition 
such other pretty good people as 
Bernard Wolfe and Bruce Jay 
Friedman. 

I personally think the effect 
of Playboy ' s patronage of Arthur 
C. Clarke has been disastrous. I 
believe that everyone who wants 
to read George Langelaan’s “The 
Fly” has either read it in one of 
its many previous republications 
or deserves his personal Xeroxed 
copy from Reader Service. I 
think they had a much better 
Davidson to chose from. But by 
any reasonable standard Ray 
Russell’s initiation of science fic- 
tion into the magazine and A.C. 
Spectorsky’s continuance and en- 
couragement of it have been two 
GALAXY BOOKSHELF 


massive favors Playboy has done 
us, and you should buy this book 
to enjoy the result, if not the 
silly arrogance with which it is 
given you. 

Neither Russell’s nor Spector- 
sky’s view of the field is exactly 
the same as mine, but the differ- 
ences I find only broadening. 
What I find actively repellent oc- 
curs in the introduction and in the 
individual story blurbs, which 
miss no opportunity to amplify 
Playboy’s accomplishment by ac- 
tively belittling the magazines 
from which these writers came. 
It is a fact that Playboy took in 
and sheltered many a man who’d 
been starving among the pulps. 
It is also a fact that with the 
possible exception of the late 
Charles Beaumont, neither Ray 
Russell nor his particular succes- 
sor in this concern, A.C. Spec- 
torsky, have a single enduring 
writer of their own to point to. 
Under those circumstances, the 
sneers and arabesque posturings 
of the blurb prose present alto- 
gether too epicene a target. And 
for the insistent use of that 
neologistic reference, “sci-fi,” we 
also thank Thee. 

Doubleday, like a couple of 
other publishers, has been in this 
field for some twenty years now 
and has either learned nothing or 
actively wants to debase the gen- 
eral public’s understanding of the 

189 


medium. Else, why Best of Amaz- 
ing ($4.50), an extraordinarily 
inept melange of selections from 
that magazine’s avatar-crammed 
past by Joseph Ross, who in his 
secret identity is a high school 
English teacher and handles the 
language exactly like it. 

Joe Ross has trouble getting 
subject and predicate within 
shouting distance of each other, 
refers to David H. Keller, M.D., 
as “the good doctor” with a 
straight face, obviously couldn’t 
then resist calling Murray Leins- 
ter “The Dean of Science Fic- 
tion” and is like a fly in amber. 
He has gazed back upon the long- 
est publishing history in the field, 
contemplated an inventory which 
contains some of the most inter- 
esting fiction contributed to the 
field, and he has selected “The 
Lost Machine” by John Beynon 
Harris. This is a now rather clum- 
sy and always bathetic piece, pre- 
sumably for its historical interest 
as an early example of work by 
a writer who had to change his 
name and most of his habits be- 
fore he could accomplish any- 
thing major. He has also selected 
“The Worm,” and burbled about 
his joy, as he went on to select 
the remaining contents — from a 
storehouse forty years in the fill- 
ing! — because at last this fine 
“Kelleryarn” (sic) would be back 
in print. It is not an actively bad 
piece, at that — it merely occu- 
190 


pies the space that could have 
been taken up by any one of a 
dozen other Keller expositions of 
this same monomaniacal mood. 
For that matter, it occupies the 
space that might have been taken 
up by a story, but by that crite- 
rion most of these pages would 
be blank. 

Murray Leinster’s “The Run- 
away Skyscraper” — complete 
with chapter-headings from its 
original Argosy appearance — is 
included here, (in this book of- 
fered as a tribute to Hugo Gerns- 
back, editor of Amazing begin- 
ning in 1926 and leaving in 1929), 
as an example of the Founding 
Father’s skill at selecting reprints. 

Would that Joe Ross had that 
skill. 

What possessed him to make of 
this very first Amazing anthology 
such a pudding of a job? “Ma- 
rooned off Vesta” by Isaac Asi- 
mov was indeed Ike’s first sale. 
His first story came several at- 
tempts later. And his “Anniver- 
sary,” a sequel written thirty 
years later, is a stunt, a contrived 
stunt and a badly contrived 
stunt. 

“The Metal Man,” by Jack 
Williamson, does much to docu- 
ment Abe Merritt’s influence on 
the young writer. It is a story full 
of memorable images, based on 
the notion that life is a vital force, 
indifferent to matter and capable 
of imparting itself to almost any 

GALAXY 


substance. Specifically, early Wil- 
liamson, like much of Merritt be- 
fore him, uses words and concepts 
like “energy,” “radioactivity,” 
and “crystalline” in special senses, 
endowing them with particular 
potency. 

You can often tell what ideas 
in a story were felt most power- 
fully by the writer and had ob- 
vious special meaning to him. In 
most cases, its the sexy parts or 
the violent parts. But Williamson, 
perhaps like some others, was 
very much concerned with mani- 
festations of tire elan vital in those 
early days of this field. There 
isn’t really much to “The Metal 
Man’s” events, evaluated for 
story, but they do present a series 
of images in which life and pow- 
er are glimpsed in massive uni- 
versal motion which merely in- 
cludes Man and flesh but does 
not defer to him or it. This sense 
you can extract from this story 
and find enjoyable and thought- 
provoking. But there are many 
better examples. Was Ross per- 
haps simply trying to locate the 
earliest possible example of 
everything that was done better 
elsewhere later? Is his soul that of 
the antiquarian? 

“Pilgrimage” by Nelson Bond 
was, I would say, a reject from 
The American Magazine or Col- 
lier’s. That was their mistake. 
Reprinting it in this context is 
Ross’s. 

GALAXY BOOKSHELF 


“Sunfire!” by Edmond Hamil- 
ton is not the grand world- 
wrecking Hamilton, but the more 
contemporaneous poetic Hamil- 
ton of “What’s It Like Out 
There?” and “Home Run.” It is 
a hitherto unreprinted example of 
that letter mode, you got to say 
that for Joe and his sure touch 
for the not-quite. Even the most 
consistent writers in this field will 
write a so-so yarn to either build 
up to or come down from a good 
piece of work, whatever that work 
might be an example of. Ross’s 
ability to select all valleys has 
the dizzy dazzle of consistent dis- 
aster all over it. 

Finally, there is “Try To Re- 
member,” by Frank Herbert, a 
man who has written excellently 
once or twice, very well almost 
always, and grindingly monoto- 
nous sometimes. This is because 
Herbert, like for example Van 
Vogt and the late Mark Clifton, 
is a compulsive magician; a quick 
study or a dedicated apprentice 
in some arts such as semantics, 
personnel management or eye- 
training which will turn all our 
lives into gold. Periodically, this 
kind of writer selects an intrin- 
sically dull magic, uses a partic- 
ularly contrived plot, and chops 
out his wooden characters too 
crudely, all at once in the same 
story. Then all his potential de- 
fects conjoin, and Oh, boy! 

This book does not represent 

191 


either contemporary science fic- 
tion or the true history of Amaz- 
ing Stories. Its introductory tri- 
bute to Hugo Gernsback is so in- 
genuous as to seem insincere; 
whatever worth it offered as a 
genuine token is pretty well un- 
dermined by Ross’s subsequent 
dragging-in of H.L. Gold, of all 
people, to stand shoulder-to- 
shoulder with Hugo. (I would 
like to see the look on the grand 
old man’s face). Its copyright 
dates fall into the past with such 
vim as to evoke the best spirit 
of Frederick Fell, Pellegrini and 
Cudahy, McBride and some of 
the other publishers who were 
bumbling around this racket in 
the early 1950’s, almost deter- 
minedly refusing to pick up any- 
thing that betrayed quality or 
sophistication, leaning on sheer 
spavined antiquity as a selling 
point. 

Ross, I don’t worry about. An 
English teacher can always make 
out as long as he remembers not 
to split infinitives in public and 
to never listen to what the words 
are meaning. Amazing I don’t 
worry about, because somebody 
always comes along with a fresh 
supply of tana leaves every time 
it appears to be dying at last. But 
Doubleday . . . what on Earth 
has happened to your shrewd 
commercial brain, gents? Surgi- 
cally implanted in a lustful giant 
robot, you say? 

192 


Orbit 11 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 
$4.95) is Damon Knight’s second 
compendium of original stories. 
It follows hard on the heels of 
Orbit I, so I assume this latest 
venture in producing books like 
magazines is either a success or 
a mistake that hasn’t been ac- 
knowledged yet. (The two are 
often indistinguishable in pub- 
lishing). 

Editorially, it’s the curious 
beast my review of In Search oi 
Wonder might have led you to ex- 
pect. It is more a sign that Da- 
mon’s heart is in the right place 
than it is a really satisfactory 
book. 

His selections are by Theodore 
Thomas, Kate Wilhelm, Richard 
McKenna, Gene Wolfe, Philip 
Latham, Joanna Russ, R.A. Laf- 
ferty, Kit Reed, and Brian Aldiss. 
I was struck by the terrific simi- 
larity of this lineup to a Maga- 
zine of Fantasy and Science Fic- 
tion contents page, as well as by 
the thought that Damon seems to 
have put this book together in his 
living room. But the best editors 
have always had a reasonably 
well defined group of writers clus- 
tered around them; what croggles 
me is that here they’re somebody 
else’s group, if you define pos- 
session by frequency of use. 

Thomas’s “The Doctor’’ is a 
great accomplishment, an exact 
statement of a central truth from 
which anyone with any sense or 

GALAXY 


understanding can go on to draw 
echoes in dozens of factual situ- 
ations. This is one of the primary 
areas of opportunity for fiction; 
it is by the nature of the medium 
the area of opportunity for sci- 
ence fiction. This one is a straight, 
undeviating statement from be- 
ginning to end, barely turning 
aside the fraction of an inch re- 
quired to explain how its doctor- 
protagonist got back in time so 
far. 

After this opening chord, quali- 
ty in the book drops quickly. 
Kate Wilhelm’s “Baby You Were 
Great” is pretty good and con- 
tains some great inventive think- 
ing, but not in places that will 
reach the reader. Writers should 
not write for writers, although we 
all do to some extent. It’s a little 
like a roofer’s carefully preparing 
the underside of a shingle so the 
wrecker who’ll eventually dis- 
mantle the house can admire his 
skill. 

Richard McKenna, who as you 
know is dead, was an excellent 
writer and a memorable person, 
a man capable of feeling and 
thinking on levels more of us 
should attain. “Fiddler’s Green” 
demonstrates these qualities in 
its author. So do dozens of other 
stories, however, and the low 
overall quality of this umpteenth 
posthumous selection verges on 
insult to the bones. 

Gene Wolfe’s “Trip, Trap” is 
GALAXY BOOKSHELF 


indistinguishable from dozens of 
other academe-oriented jokes 
published in F&SF during the 
Boucher years. Apparently, too, 
the stimulus of buying this kind 
of story automatically invokes an 
editorial response in the form of 
a clearly overblown blurb. 

Philip Latham’s “The Dimple 
in Draco,” on the other hand, is 
representative of the kind of en- 
gineers’ in-group “story” (astro- 
nomic division) that ASF used to 
put out once in a while. It’s poor- 
ly representative, however, and 
when found outside Analog’s 
pages leads one to think maybe 
Damon bought this reject from 
John just to prove he can pub- 
lish a story he doesn’t personally 
like. For this sort of purpose, 
of course, an intrinsically unlike- 
able story is even more desire- 
able than a good one. 

Joanna Russ is represented by 
two stories about a single charac- 
ter, a female Grey Mouser named 
Alyx. In these two stories she 
is provided with contradictory 
pasts, neither of them clearly suit- 
able for the matured protagonist 
of the actual stories Aside from 
that, she’s a very pleasant crea- 
ture, and I hope there’ll be more 
of her. It’s pretty lightweight 
stuff for two stroies, but if you 
don’t put an issue together fre- 
quently, I guess you got to get 
your series character out in big- 
ger-than-usual lumps. 

193 



iOSlO OF 
TOiORROW 

Here is music composed on 
computer and transducers, rang- 
ing from computer-played ver- 
sions of Christmas carols and 
rounds to the complex sounds 
that offer a new dimension in 
musicology. Composers include 
Dr. John R. Pierce, Dr. M. V. 
Mathews, David Lewin, James 
Tenny, etc. 18 selections on a 12- 
inch, high-fidelity, long-playing 
record produced by Decca. A 
“must” for your record library 
and a conversation piece for all 
occasions. Priced $4.95 postpaid 
— send in the coupon today. 


Galaxy Publishing Carp. 
421 Hudson Street, 

New York City 10014 

Yes, send me my 12-inch hi-fi 
record of Music from Mathema- 
tics right away. I enclose check 
or money order for $4.95. 

Name 

Address 

City & State Zip Code .... 

(Offer good in U. S. A. Only) 


R.A. Lafferty’s “The Hole in 
The Corner” is the second-best 
story in the book; totally inde- 
scribable, it represents what can 
be done with the F&SF style, 
(even though Lafferty’s natural 
home is right here in Galaxy ). 

To get it done, you have to be 
not just witty and college edu- 
cated. You have to be far enough 
away from those days to have 
some idea of what’s real and what 
isn’t. That gives you terrific scar- 
city value, because of all the 
kinds of story there are, the no- 
tional mode is the easiest in 
which to write badly well enough 
to get by. 

What I mean by that perhaps 
cryptic remark may become 
clearer to you if you read the 
final story in Orbit II, Brian Al- 
diss’s “Full Sun.” Then there’s 
Kit Reed’s “The Food Farm,” 
which like most of the stories in 
this book takes a notion and gives 
it the simplest possible twist, but 
with a good vocabulary and lots 
of cuteness lubricating the hard 
parts. Essentially, this kind of 
story is a spatter of code words 
and recognition symbols, evoking 
the spirit of intelligence and in- 
quiry, flaunting credentials of so- 
phistication. When you touch 
them they vanish, or become at 
best cardboard, Damon, card- 
board. — Algis Budrys 

GO 


194 


GALAXY 


volume 1 NUMBER 1 

A new science-fiction magazine 
with a new concept in publishing 


Each issue will be filled with 
stories by Foreign Authors 



International 

7 SCIENCE- FICTION/ 


Will give American readers a chance to read the 
science-fiction stories by Authors popular in the 
rest of the world. Written and translated by the 
* top writers throughout the world. 

We hope you will like it. 

PLEASE LET US KNOW! 


NEWSSTAND ONLY 




Seated : Bennett Cerf, Faith Baldwin, Bergen Evans, Bruce Catton, Mignon G.Eberhart, John Caples, 
J. D. Ratcliff. Standing: Mark Wiseman, Max Shulman, Rudolf Flesch, Red Smith, Rod Serling. 


“We want to test 
your writing aptitude” 


By Gordon Carroll 

Director, Famous Writers School. Former 
editor, Reader’s Digest, Time, Inc., Coronet 

If you want to write, my colleagues and 
I would like to test your writing aptitude. 
We'll help you find out if you can be 
trained to become a successful writer. 

Several years ago, we started the 
Famous Writers School. Our aim was to 
help qualified people acquire the skills 
they need to break into print. We poured 
everything we knew about writing into 
a new kind of professional training 
course, which you take at home and in 
your free time. After a solid grounding 
in fundamentals, you get advanced train- 
ing in the specialty of your choice— Fic- 
tion, Non-Fiction, Advertising or Busi- 
ness Writing. 

Each of your writing assignments is 
examined by instructors who are them- 
selves professional writers or editors. 
Your instructor spends up to two hours 
analyzing your work. He blue-pencils 
corrections right on it — much as an 
editor does with established writers. 
Then he returns it to you with a long 
personal letter of advice and specific 
recommendations. 

This training works well. Our students 
have sold their writing to more than 100 


publications including Reader’s Digest, 

True, Redbook. 

Stephen Novak of Wayne, N. J., says, 

“I just received a check from Ellery 
Queen's Mystery Magazine. That’s 1 1 
stories sold in six months.” Doris Steb- 
bins of S. Coventry, Conn., who has sold 
six stories to Woman’s Day for $2,050 
writes, “Taking your Course has made 
it all possible.” ^ 

Writing Aptitude Test offered 

To find out if you can benefit from this 
training, send for the School’s Aptitude i 
Test. If you test well, or offer other cvi 
dence of writing ability you may enroll 
But there is no obligation to do so. 


Famous Writers School 

Dept. 6659, Westport Connecticut 06HH0 
I want to know if I have writing nplltwd. 
Please mail me, free, your Writing Apllltuli 
Test and 48-page illustrated brochure 

Mr. 

Mrs Age , , 

Miss [Circle one and please print | 

Street 

City 

State Zip 

Accredited by the Accrediting Commission 
of the National Home Study Council.